Crucial visit on 'eyesore' mast

A DECISION on controversial plans to erect a 20ft tall mobile phone mast on top of 23ft high building within a few feet of back gardens in Harrogate is expected within weeks.

As part of the planning process an independent government inspector visited the site off Hookstone Avenue on Wednesday.

He also viewed the area from Mount Gardens, Halstead Road and Beech Avenue in the Oatlands area.

Plans for the mast by mobile phone company O2(UK) Ltd were twice rejected for the same site by Harrogate Borough Council.

Following the latest refusal by councillors, the company lodged an appeal, sparking the site visit by independent government inspector Jonathan King. He announced that a decision would be made within weeks.

Coun Fred Willis (Con Pannal) who represents the area on the borough council, accompanied the inspector on his site visit along with a borough council planner, the appelants and three residents' representing the wider Oatlands Anti Mast Group.

Coun Willis said: "The development has caused an outcry because the mast would be so close to people's back gardens – little more than 12ft from their boundaries.

"If the scheme went ahead it would simply domineer residents' gardens because the 20ft structure would be erected on a building more than 23ft high making such an unwelcome impact."

Mr King visited back gardens which would be affected by the plans and also viewed the site from bedroom windows at the invitation of local residents.

After spending 45 minutes on the site visit which Mr Mr King spent 45 minutes making the site visit on roads surrounding a former leisure centre in Beech Avenue.

Coun Willis, in his submission to the appeal, said the mast would be a dominant and overpowering feature, creating an unneighbourly intrusion and should be rejected.

He said it would seriously diminish the amenity residents should reasonably expect to enjoy in their own back gardens.

04 November 2005



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November 2005

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