Plans to install devices to help the public access long-awaited free Wifi in Dundee city centre have hit the skids after planners rejected them because of their visual impact on surrounding areas.
An application was submitted to Dundee City Council last year outlining plans to bring 16 “communication hubs” to locations across the city centre, which would have played a part in the delayed roll-out of free Wifi at the waterfront and surrounding areas.
The units would would allow people who do not have access to broadband within a shop to be able to connect to the portal while in the city centre.
Also included in the application were plans to install a defibrillator in each unit. which would have been provided by the charity Community Heartbeat Trust.
Among the locations considered for the communication hubs were one outside the Overgate Shopping Centre, another at site adjacent to St Marys Parish Church in the Nethergate and one at the Murraygate.
The original proposals were later amended, reducing the proposed number of hubs from 16 to nine.
In a letter submitted to the city council in January of this year, developers, JCDecaux claimed the project would provide “an exciting opportunity for the city to be at the leading edge of digital mapping” and would “provide usable and practical services for the community”.
It was also highlighted that the proposals aimed to encourage people to the city centre by providing a “free portal for people to access services” and would “encourage consumer spending through advertisements of products and shops found within Dundee”.
But the local authority has refused permission for the hubs to be installed, claiming the plans would be damaging to the proposed locations. And has instead said it will use existing facilites to provide access to the free Wifi. .
In their statement outlining their reasons for rejecting the proposals, planners have said the “proposal would have a detrimental visual impact upon the surrounding street scene”.
Planners also said the applicant had failed to “demonstrate an operational need for the proposals.”
A similar explanation was given for rejecting the Overgate devices and the ones that would have been located at St Marys Parish church site.
JCDecaux was approached for comment.