Residents win fight to stop phone mast going up nearby
By Andrew Clarke
Published at 15:57, Wednesday, 30 June 2010
A GROUP of Hensingham residents have won their fight to stop a phone mast being built close to their homes.
speaking out: Thornton Road residents (from left, standing) Gail King, Agnes Thompson, Margaret and Gordon Messenger, Gail’s husband, Darren, and sons, Liam and Lewis
Mobile phone giants O2 were expected to win planning approval to build a mast on land close to Whitehaven Fire Station.
However, after hearing from Gail King, who was speaking on behalf of a number of residents of neighbouring Thornton Road, the plans were dismissed.
“There should be prudent avoidance to erect these masts near schools and homes,” Mrs King told the meeting of Copeland Council’s planning panel last Wednesday.
“I am concerned about the health risks associated with mobile phone masts, and the reduction in our house prices and the adverse effect it could have on possible future purchases.
“There must be many other alternative sites that would be more suitable.”
Councillors were informed that the proposed mast did meet the necessary guidelines in terms of health and safety.
However, they agreed with Mrs King’s views on its proximity to a residential area and its visual impact and almost unanimously voted against their officers’ recommendation of approval.
Coun Alan Jacob said: “It puzzles me why they cannot locate it in a more remote location.”
Geoff Garrity added: “This is far too close to people’s houses in a built-up area. This is a big concern.”
“There are a number of fields out towards Moresby that could be used,” said Coun John Jackson.
“I’m sure they could move it away from built-up areas. Moving it a couple of hundred yards wouldn’t make much difference.”
Coun Margarita Docherty added: “People have to be considered, as well as companies.”
It is policy that if the planning panel goes against the officers’ recommendation, the item must return to the next meeting for further consideration.
However, Copeland’s head of planning Tony Pomfret confirmed that due to the timescales involved, the item will not return to the panel in this instance and the application has been dismissed.
O2 have held a long-standing ambition to build a phone mast in Hensingham to improve its 3G coverage.
They won approval to erect a 12½-metre mast just outside the school grounds, on Richmond Hill Road, in June last year.
However, the plans were withdrawn amid local opposition, and they have in the past considered a number of other locations for a mast, including the Romar Workwear site and G&M Supplies.
Published by http://www.whitehaven-news.co.uk