Opposition predicted to phone mast plan

Plans to fit mobile phone equipment on the BT building in Bury St Edmunds are once again up for discussion.

Two previous applications were thrown out by local planners and appeal inspectors in 2002 and 2004 – including one plan for an aerial disguised as a flag-pole – after residents voiced strong opposition.

Now, Vodafone hopes to install two camouflaged wall aerials and another on the roof disguised as a small chimney, on the redundant Whiting Street building.

St Edmundsbury borough councillor Paul Farmer, who campaigned against the last application, said he predicted further local opposition.

"Quite apart from the usual safety and visual concerns, any installation which extends the life of this building is a setback for those who wish to see it replaced with more appropriate residential development," said Cllr Farmer.

"Vodafone may not be the only company interested. Once one aerial is allowed, how many more will follow?

"I shall be passing on these concerns to the agent and will certainly support the views of residents when this becomes a planning application."

Mike Ames, borough councillor for Abbeygate Ward, was also against the previous applications.

"Although they have altered the design from the previous application, the basic principle of objection still stands," said Cllr Ames.

"I don't think this is a suitable building or site. It is in the St Edmundsbury Borough Council plans as a suitable site for domestic purposes – in other words it is a brownfield site designated for residential use. If you allow anything to be put on there it jeopardises the policy St Edmundsbury Borough Council planners have got."

Vodafone agent National Grid Wireless is consulting local people before submitting a formal planning request.

25 November 2005



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November 2005

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