New bid for 'porcupine' phone mast

Last posted: Wednesday 20 April 2005 16:40

A MOBILE phone company has unveiled new proposals to extend a controversial phone mast.

Communication giant O2 has submitted plans to increase the height of a pole in an alleyway next to Foundry Street, Little Lever, from 12.5 metres to 15 metres high.

The telecommunications firm tried to extend the mast last year, but Bolton Council rejected the application for being out of character with the surrounding area.

Now O2 has produced an amended design which shows a slimmer phone pole, broadening out at the top of the mast to include extra antennae.

The mast is situated in the village centre, near the shopping parade on Market Street.

It part of the company's Third Generation Network project, improving the network's coverage and allowing users to deal with large amounts of data.

Councillors in Little Lever say the mast would look like a "porcupine".

Cllr Mary Woodward, ward member for Little Lever, said: "A 15m phone pole in the middle of the precinct would be too high and it would be detrimental to the area, which is built-up.

"The mast would be out of character and become a total eyesore.

"The application for an extension was unanimously refused last time, and it should be again."

Ann McCracken, from O2, said: "We hope this new application will reduce any fears residents have about the mast's appearance.

"We wrote to local councillors in March to inform them about this further application."

Last year, O2 applied to Bolton Council to share an existing mast with rivals Vodafone at Little Lever Cricket Club, but this was rejected by planning bosses.

O2 also held talks with officials from a nearby church to try to find an alternative site.

The mast has a long history, with a successful campaign launched by villagers in the summer of 2003 to stop the monopole being erected.

But four months later, a government inspector agreed the phone mast should be built despite residents' concerns.

Residents had objected due to fears that the mast would be "an intrusive feature" and could attract vandalism.


Informant: Sylvie


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April 2005

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