11:00 - 21 February 2005

Campaigners are celebrating after planners rejected an application to put a mobile phone mast on community land in Totterdown. Mobile phone company Vodafone applied to the city council to install a mast close to the site of a proposed community building in Wells Road.

Councillors said the mast would jeopardise the project.

The company had previously put in an application for a mast in front of Victoria Park Baptist Church in the area - which was turned down - but won consent for another mast near to Victoria Park Infant and Junior School.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Mark Bailey (Windmill Hill) is delighted that the latest application was turned down.

Last month he called on mobile companies to accept their social responsibility about the siting of masts and to work with communities rather than against them.

He said: "While accepting the need for more masts if we are to take advantage of the new technologies, telephone companies must realise that communities are not going to stand by and allow these masts to be sited in sensitive locations.

"The last three planning applications for masts in Windmill Hill have been near to a school, in front of a church and adjacent to land earmarked for a new Community and Social Enterprise Centre.

"I do not understand why mobile companies choose sites that are obviously going to be controversial.

"The Totterdown and Neighbourhood Community Centre Group is working tremendously hard to secure funding for the new Community and Social Enterprise Centre.

"The group have had an outline bid for £500,000 accepted and are now in the process of attracting match funding. An architect has been appointed and a planning application is to be submitted next month.

"It is unacceptable that all of this hard work could have been undermined by this inconsiderate, ill-conceived mast application.

"I am thrilled that the planning department rejected the application on the grounds that it would 'predjudice the future development of the site'. There was no evidence that Vodafone had even considered other more appropriate sites for the mast prior to submitting this ill thought-out application.

"The residents of Windmill Hill took on the mobile phone giant and won.

"Common sense has prevailed, and I hope that this is the start of mobile phone companies working with communities rather than against them."

Vodafone said previously that 55 million handsets are in use in the UK and masts had to be located where people live, work and travel.

The company say that mobile phone masts are very low powered and that sharing masts with other providers only makes them larger and more visually intrusive.


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Februar 2005

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