10
Mai
2005

Phone mast blunder puts antenna too close to homes

GARETH ROSE

A CONTROVERSIAL phone mast faces being torn down after it was erected in the wrong place.

Plans by T-Mobile to build a 15-metre high tower were opposed by residents in Brunstane, who are now further enraged because the mast has been built closer to their homes than was originally proposed.

The mobile phone giant’s tower in Milton Road East has been built about 20ft from the nearest home and about 9ft from where it was supposed to be, apparently to avoid a gas main.

The council has completed an investigation and found that the mast is in the wrong place after complaints from residents.

T-Mobile will now have to apply for new planning permission, and if that bid is unsuccessful it will be told to take the mast down.

Letters seeking objections to the plans were only sent out to five nearby households by the city council, which residents claim left many people in the dark about T-Mobile’s plans.

They say even after they complained to the council about the location of the mast, T-Mobile has continued wiring it up ready for use.

Zahid Ali, 41, of Milton Road East, said: "It is an eyesore. Every time I look out of my front room, dining room, or two bedrooms, I see this thing in front of me.

"It will affect the resale value of our houses. No-one will want to buy a property so close to a mast."

Pensioner Alastair Hare, 72, who also lives on Milton Road East, added: "We live in some of the oldest properties in the Portobello area.

"But we would not have bought houses here if that thing was sitting outside the front door.

"There was no discussion about it - only [five] houses received letters about the bid for planning permission.

"They’ve got to go somewhere, but why straight in front of people’s houses?"

Sandra Yeaman, who has lived in Milton Road East for 23 years, said: "I do not think the council should grant T-Mobile new planning permission.

"How can they be trusted after they failed to notify the people most affected?"

A council spokeswoman said: "It’s in the wrong place so T-Mobile will have to put in a new application. It could be an enforcement issue."

A T-Mobile spokesman said: "There’s no way it’s been built in the wrong place. But we will speak to the council and completely corroborate with officers seeing as they think it is."

Residents had hoped that the nearby Jewel and Esk Valley College would come to the rescue and house the mast, but to no avail.

The T-Mobile spokesman said: "We were told by officials that the the college was not prepared to have the mast on their land."

But Howard McKenzie, principal at Jewel & Esk Valley College, said: "Following discussions, and after providing access to the college site, T-Mobile informed us that our site was not in fact suitable for their requirements."
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