1
Okt
2005

MAST REFUSAL PUTS SPORTS CLUB IN JEOPARDY

Bath Chronicle

11:00 - 30 September 2005

The future of a sports club in Larkhall has been brought into doubt by the rejection of plans to build a mobile phone mast in its grounds. Larkhall Sports Club, home of Larkhall Athletic Football Club, had applied with mobile phone giant Orange to put up a 15-metre telecommunications mast with three antennae and two dishes at its Charlcombe Lane grounds.

But the phone mast, which would have resulted in financial income for the club, has been turned down by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Larkhall Athletic has recently had six match floodlights and two training floodlights installed at the ground as part of a £125,000 improvement project.

Club chairman Tony Grace said he was outraged at the decision to refuse the latest scheme.

"This is nothing but a disgrace," he said. "It jeopardises the future of the football club."

Last year a separate proposal by Orange to erect an antenna close to the nearby junction of Charlcombe Lane and Colliers Lane was met with anger by local residents, who said the 66ft mast would be a blot on the landscape.

The council was forced to delay its decision last autumn when more than 250 letters of objection were sent in, but it was eventually refused at the beginning of July.

Cllr Bryan Chalker (Con, Lambridge) said he had mixed feelings about the most recent application, which was just outside his own ward.

"I sympathise with the football club," he said. "They are short of cash and over the years, a lot of work has been put in. Some of the guys have been involved for years.

"But I also feel for the residents who do not want to live near these masts."

A spokeswoman for Orange said it was considering the possibility of appealing against the council's decision.

The club and phone company Hutchinson 3G had previously received permission from B &NES to erect a mast at the ground, but the club says it is now unlikely that Hutchinson will go through with its plan.
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