21
Apr
2005

Councillors call over phone mast requests

North Tyneside Guardian

Councillors call over phone mast requests

COUNCILLORS are calling on their local MPs to back a Parliamentary bill which aims to increase the powers for refusing planning applications for phone masts.

Under current legislation, councils can only refuse phone masts based on their appearance despite concerns from residents about the potential health impacts.

But that could change as a private members' bill was recently introduced by Andrew Stunell MP in the House of Commons, aimed at giving local authorities greater powers in refusing a development without planning permission and allowing councils to have regard to health issues.

Now North Tyneside Council has agreed to call on the three local MPs to support the bill after a motion was unanimously backed at a full council meeting last week.

Coun David Ord said: "We're asking for greater powers to decide whether these things should be allowed. We're asking for our MPs to support this bill."

Lib Dem colleague Coun Graeme Brett said he was concerned about the number of planning applications which were rejected by the council after a democratic debate, and taken to an appeal where they were approved by someone hundreds of miles away, often without visiting the area.

Conservative councillor Ken Mewett said they were happy to support the motion and the parliamentary bill as it seemed sensible legislation, especially considering local residents' views on mobile phone masts.

And Labour leader Coun John Harrison said: "We support this in principle."

19 April 2005
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