8
Dez
2005

Phone company’s application for mast extension

The Comet 08.12.05

A CONTROVERSIAL phone mast originally installed without planning permission and then allowed to remain temporarily could end up staying where it is for over 18 months.

The mast, situated by the terraces at Hitchin Town football ground in Fishponds Road, was installed by Vodafone in October last year.

The company then applied for permission and was told it could keep the mast there until April 2005.

But the mast has remained at the site since this deadline passed and Vodafone is now asking to be allowed to keep it there for another six months.

The company claims the site is needed to give coverage to west Hitchin and Ickleford until it finds a permanent solution.

If the new planning permission is granted the mast could remain at the football ground until either May or June next year, a move which is likely to prove unpopular with residents of nearby roads.

One resident, of Lancaster Avenue, has already written to North Herts District Council to object to the plan.

The resident insists the mast should have been removed and complains that it is visible from her sitting room and that it is not built on a brownfield site but on common land used for sport.

The matter is due to be discussed by the Hitchin Committee of NHDC next Tuesday.

Councillor Martin Stears, who represents Hitchin Bearton ward on the council, told The Comet: "It's a matter of concern that unless things have changed that we should not see it as a backdoor for something permanent when that's not appropriate.

"We have to look at the whole application from both sides and make a proper judgement on the night."

The Comet contacted Vodafone for a comment but they had not responded by the time the paper went to press.
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