8
Mai
2005

COUNCIL CHANGES ITS PHONE MAST POLICY

Tamworth Herald

LINDSEY SMITH

10:30 - 05 May 2005

Planning applications for mobile phone masts in North Warwickshire are to be circulated to elected members for the first time.

Following complaints from councillors that they are not being told about masts appearing in their wards, North Warwickshire Borough Council has agreed to rectify the situation - even though they have no legal obligation to do so.

Coleshill Cllr Peter Fowler, who requested the change of policy, says the public has missed out on a 'vital window of opportunity for consultation and objection' for far too long.

The five major mobile networks in the UK provide an annual roll out plan for local councils detailing plans to erect new masts or carry out upgrades to existing base units.

Despite the fact no planning permission is required for masts under 15 metres tall under existing 'prior approval' legislation, local authorities still have 56 days to submit any objections to the plans.

But in the past, ward councillors have not always been informed of the plans, leaving them little room to object on behalf of the electorate once mast building work begins.

Jeff Brown, acting assistant director of planning at NWBC has confirmed that from now on, notifications of individual masts and the yearly telecommunications operators' roll out plans will be given to councillors.

Cllr Fowler said: "It may be there's nothing we can do, the objections may turn out to be futile, but if we know about these masts at least we can do our bit to have our voice heard.

"Protestors in Coleshill managed to halt the installation of a 3G mast at Coleshill Hotel's Cameo Suite and the company is now looking for alternative sites.

" "People DO have power, but only if they know what they're objecting against."
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