Prescott to rule on phone mast plan

Monday 10 October 2005

Bolton evening news

A BATTLE over a mobile phone mast erected on land protected by a historic covenant is to be resolved once and for all.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is to consider an appeal by the telecommunications firm Hutchinson 3G after Bolton Council ordered them to remove the mast erected earlier this year at Holland's Nurseries in Darwen Road, Bromley Cross.

The covenant stated that nothing should be built on the land - and that it should be used only for agricultural purposes.

Councillors had rejected the application on planning grounds, but that decision was later overturned on appeal by a government inspector.

Bolton Council then ordered the mast to be taken down after deciding that the terms of a covenant should remain in place.

Hutchinson 3G - which is the parent company of 3 Mobile - has now taken its fight to the highest planning authority possible - the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Cllr Alan Wilkinson, a Conservative councillor for Bromley Cross, said the removal of the covenant would open the floodgates to the development of the land.

He added: "This covenant was put in place to protect this land and it is important that people stand by it."

Mr Prescott will look at the representations before deciding whether to allow the appeal to take place. Interested parties have until Friday, October 21, to make their views known.

Residents won a victory in the 1980s when a High Court judge ruled that the covenant - made by the land's former owners, the Ashworth brothers, in 1934 - should be upheld.

Although it had been broken when housing developer Barratts built on 35 acres of land, the judge decided it was too late to stop that development.

Since then residents have opposed a number of plans on the site, including Bromley Cross Football Club's scheme to have 10 football pitches on the land for its junior teams.

Under that plan -- which has yet to be considered by planning chiefs - also includes a new building for the nursery and changing rooms, a cafe and 185 parking spaces.

A spokesman for Hutchison 3G said: "Our licence to operate carries the obligation to provide coverage and maintain an emergency service coverage.

"The telegraph pole-type installation blends in with existing telegraph poles and other structures that are established on the land in question."


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