22
Nov
2005

MOBILE PHONE GIANT SEEKS TO RENEW PERMISSION FOR MAST

Bath Chronicle

11:00 - 22 November 2005

A Mobile phone giant is seeking to renew permission to put up a mast in the heart of Bear Flat. O2 won a planning appeal to site a mast on land between Bloomfield Road and Wellsway last year, but concerted opposition from residents convinced the company to seek an alternative site.

However, amid heavy opposition to its preferred alternative at Alexandra Park, the company has now reapplied for a licence to begin work on the original site, for which it still has planning permission.

Cllr David Bellotti (Lib Dem, Lyncombe) said he feared O2 would proceed with work if it felt it would not succeed with an application for a mast at the park.

He said: "We are potentially faced with three masts within 400 yards of each other surrounding us. The head of the Mobile Operators Association has now promised to come to Bear Flat, bringing representatives of the five major operators with him, and talk about where a single shared mast could be sited.

"We are really besieged by these companies in the conservation area, all of them wanting a separate site, and I think the residents have every right to be as militant as possible in opposing them."

Meanwhile, a coalition of residents fighting both O2's plans and an application from Hutchinson 3G to put a mast on top of the Smiles store at Wellsway is continuing its campaign.

Sue Boyle, of the Friends of Alexandra Park, made the case against O2's plans for the park at last week's full council meeting, and to call for stronger backing from the council to prevent them.

She said: "When we first learnt of the O2 proposal on September 1 this year, we were confident that the park would be automatically protected from such an invasive and damaging development. There are commitments set out so clearly in the conservation and policy documents, to which this council is committed and which are intended to protect this World Heritage City from abuse.

"Since September, we have become increasingly concerned that despite the council's expressed commitments, Alexandra Park, and therefore other local parks and gardens of historical interest and other visually important spaces, might be in jeopardy."

At the same meeting, the council voted to start work on a policy which, when it comes into force in a year, will afford greater protection to sites such as Alexandra Park from phone mast applications.
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