21
Jun
2005

Protestors’ delight at mast fight win

by Nic Brunetti

Enfield Independant

OBJECTORS to a controversial phone mast have won their battle against the planning decision that allowed it to go up just metres from their homes.

Residents felt so strongly about the T-Mobile mast in Wycombe Road that they submitted their case for judicial review by the High Court in an attempt to get the decision quashed.

Homeowner Jennifer Redman, 67, who lives near the mast, was told in February that the value of her home had plummeted by £45,000 since its arrival.

The mast was approved under delegated powers by Wycombe District Council back in November last year.

But the Free Press can now reveal that the matter has been dealt with outside court, and that both parties have agreed to a consent order, which will reverse the planning decision.

The case was submitted by leader of the residents, David Reynolds, whose legal team challenged the council decision directly.

He said: "I'll just be happy when they take the mast away. I'm very grateful for the neighbours' support.

"We were right in our position and it took a lot of detective work to actually find the mistakes that should have been exposed by Wycombe."

The decision, which will become official once it is read out in the High Court, means that unless a new planning application by T-Mobile is successful, the mast will have to be taken down altogether.

T-Mobile refused to comment at this stage or say whether they were planning to resubmit their application.

Lawyers acting for Mr Reynolds claimed that the approval given by the council was flawed, because it failed to take into account other sites in the area that could have accommodated the mast.

This includes a site at Bencombe Farm which, they claimed, was not sufficiently considered because T-Mobile had looked at incorrect grid references of the location.

Lawyers were also unhappy that Great Marlow School , in Bobmore Lane , which is just 150 metres from the mast, was not consulted by the council despite a government report saying that radiation beams of the "greatest intensity" strike the ground between 50 and 200 metres.

In legal arguments, the council said it did take objections into account, including suggestions of other possible sites for the mast.

It also said that in terms of policy, it was not its responsibility to question the need for the mast. Through their own "standard procedure", they had decided not to contact the school over the application.

Dan Rosenberg, of Public Interest Lawyers, acting for Mr Reynolds, added: "The council did not consult the school, the application contained inaccuracies and the operator even got grid references of neighbouring masts wrong.

"It is correct that such a decision affecting so many people should be looked at again."

The council has been ordered to pay Mr Reynolds' legal costs as part of the consent order, which he claims could reach around £18,000.

A council spokesman added: "In this instance it was deemed that a speedy and effective resolution should be sought and as such the council entered into negotiations with all parties to successfully produce the Consent Order."

3:35pm Monday 20th June 2005
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