17
Mrz
2005

Residents relieved as mast fails

by Adrian Short, Weekly News

Mar 17 2005

RESIDENTS who fought tooth and nail to block a planned mobile phone mast in Widnes have praised Halton council planning chiefs for rejecting it. Halton Borough Council turned down an application by 02 Ltd for a telecommunications mast with equipment cabins which the company had earmarked for land on Birchfield Road and Derby Road.

Councillors on the development control committee voted against the mast proposal which has already been thrown out on two previous occasions.

Phil McClean, a leading anti-mast campaigner, said: 'We are delighted that Halton council planners have refused the mast and we are disgusted that 02 showed disregard for the wishes of the residents and has not responded to the letters I sent to them. 'It is hard to say whether the company will reapply but the residents will continue to resist and will fiercely oppose any future applications. '02 should give more thought to the location of its mast, preferably an industrial area should be chosen, but this appears to be a more expensive option

- Ignored: because of higher business rates.

'They are making millions and yet they are penny-pinching.'

A spokeswoman for Halton council said: 'The council has perhaps been more rigorous than most local authorities in efforts to resists the introduction of inappropriate and unnecessary telecommunications equipment. 'The authority has had a long standing policy that adopts all of the precautionary advice given by the Government and the Stewart Report and in addition sets out the criteria that ensures the best environ-mental option is achieved when a proposal is submitted. 'The stringent application of this policy has seen the council turn down numerous intended proposals before they reach the public domain and reject a number of others at planning application stage.'

Residents across Widnes have become vocal opponents of mobile phone masts and are backing calls by Halton Friends of the Earth and UK campaign group Mast Sanity for a moratorium. Mast Sanity is now urging communities to make compensation claims for 'injurious affection' when a mast affects land usage or devalues properties. Mast Sanity is also demanding changes to planning policy to reflect the widespread view of residents across the UK that masts are a potential source of ill health, especially near sensitive locations like schools and residential property. Under the current planning system alleged potential health effects from masts are regarded as 'non-material considerations' which are largely ignored.


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