Satellite Dishes – Ugly or Art?

Satellite Dishes on Apartments - Arty or Ugly?

 A resident has asked for this question to be addressed by Diamond Diary. But I think, it’s possibly a premature question until other issues have been addressed. Our apartments have access to good Cable TV but the problem of free choice in selecting a television service provider is one that bothers many of our neighbours and the barriers faced tend to cause a whole pile of confusion and frustration. So here is my attempt to lend some clarity to the issue:

 

 Why am I not allowed to erect a satellite dish on my apartment? 

 
Firstly, it is prohibited by the House Rules. All apartments are legally obliged to have House Rules (since April 2011 both owners and residents are legally obliged to comply with them) and most modern developments have a rule that prohibits the erection of individual satellite dishes. The reason for this rule is to comply with the requirements of the Planning Act, which does not allow apartments to erect satellite dishes or external TV ariels without planning permission. Persumably this is because a proliferation of dishes on an apartment block is considered by planners to be a material alteration to the permitted structure. Houses may erect a dish or ariel on a roof, to the side or to the rear without the need for planning but it seems that in all cases to do with apartments, dishes and ariels require planning.

 

Can the House Rules be changed?

House Rules can be changed but legally only after full consultation with all apartment owners and voting on the issue at a meeting of owners (one apartment one vote). However, even if the rule is changed, it seems that apartment owners would be obliged to apply for planning permission for the satellite dish. There is no guarantee of receiving planning permission for individual dishes- in fact official planning guidance is in favour of communal dishes on apartment blocks. Any objections to the application would be considered by the Planning Authority.

What is involved in erecting a communal dish?

SKY offers to erect communal dishes free of charge on the roof once a reasonable number of residents require their service. This used to be a minimum of 4 apartments per block but this may have changed and I’m not up to date with their current requirements. It may also depend on the cabling arrangements in the building. However, it seems that even a communal dish on the roof of an apartment block may require planning permission so it seems likely that a planning application would have to be made by the Management Company on behalf of the apartment owners. The good news is that official planning guidance is in favour of communal satellite dishes and the Competition Authority has recommended their use to facilitate competition in TV services so on balance the chances of a favourable planning permission should be good. Planning application processes can take several months from the date of application. The question of whether or not it is possible to erect communal dishes at Diamond Valley is one that residents may wish to put directly to the Management Agent, for discussion with the Management Company directors.

Would erecting a communal satellite dish result in NTL/UPC being fully replaced by SKY?

This wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea. Communal satelite dishes are desirable if they address a need to introduce fair choice for consumers. There will only be choice if more than one service provider is facilitated in the building.

Did NTL (now UPC) have an exclusivity agreement with the developer of our apartments?

That’s a question you might want to put to the Management Agent. Since April 2011, the Management Companies of apartment dwellings are prohibited under legislation from entering into service contracts extending beyond 3 years in duration.

Until the issue of free choice is addressed, can I expect any improvements in my NTL/UPC cable service?

UPC has commenced a major Network Improvement Programme in our area which is expected to be completed by mid August 2011. On completion of this work, the company will be able to provide customers with Fibre-Power broadband, home phone and digital TV. Contact networkupgrade@upc.ie for further details.

Back to the original question : Satellite Dishes Ugly or Art?

One man’s art is another man’s anguish. The issue is very subjective, and that’s why it is a matter for a planning process which facilitates public consultation, consideration of landscape and views and the issue of public safety.

The above is a personal interpretation only. Do consult a professional town planner or the Management Agent if this is an issue close to your heart.

Read more about Diamond Valley’s House Rules, the Management Agent and the Management Company here: http://www.diamondvalley.ie/AboutHouseRules.html

Read more here about the new Multi Units Development Act 2011, which has a lot to say about House Rules : http://diamondvalley.ie/wordpress/new-laws-to-protect-apartment-owners-and-occupiers/

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The editor of this diary lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Diamond Valley is a modern apartment community in the old setting of the Valley of Diamonds, alongside the river Dargle. Contact editor@diamondvalley.ie
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