VCAT approves Optus phone tower in Kyneton after appeal against Macedon Ranges Shire rejection

THE state’s planning tribunal has approved a 25-metre phone tower at the northern end of the Kyneton township after the tower was initially rejected by Macedon Ranges Shire.

The shire had argued the tower would detract from the “entry experience” to Kyneton for motorists, but Optus believed it would solve a coverage black spot that has existed in the town for several years.

The tower was proposed for an industrial block of land at the intersection of Mollison Street and Johnson Court.

Optus argued the site was not at a gateway into Kyneton, but rather was a connection between two industrial areas and the tower was not out of place in the area.

It would only be viewable to a small number of houses to the north and south, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard, as there is a public reserve separating the industrial area from a nearby residential area.

Macedon Ranges Shire contains 10 Optus towers, but the telecommunications company argued these were nearing capacity, and were often above capacity during peak tourism times when a large number of visitors travel to the area.

Kyneton is one of three coverage black spots in the shire.

VCAT heard Kyneton’s population was likely to increase from 6000 to more than 10,000 in the coming years, meaning additional industrial development was likely.

In his ruling, VCAT member Geoffrey Rundle said the tower would not cause any adverse visual impacts for the industrial area, and its promised improved coverage would be a net benefit for Kyneton.

“I am not persuaded that Mollison Street is a sensitive gateway or scenic entry to Kyneton that needs careful management,” he wrote.

“It will improve the digital service to the east and north of Kyneton. This will provide benefits to visitors, residents and businesses. It will assist people driving past Kyneton on the Calder Freeway.

“I think the monopole provides multiple benefits, and in this location, it has no adverse impacts for valued landscapes, entries or heritage.”

Macedon Ranges Shire’s decision was set aside and a permit was granted to Optus.

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