Mast verdict sparks fury with councillors

by Jane Clee

May 26, 2005, 15:06

The Chronicle Great Barr

Oscott councillors have slammed city planning bosses for 'setting a dangerous precedent' and allowing a 12-metre high mobile phone mast to be built despite objections from hundreds of concerned residents.

They have called the decision a 'slap in the face' for the community and say having the phone pole near to homes, a school and a busy shopping area is a bitter blow for campaigners.

Birmingham's Planning Committee have given the go-ahead for the erection of the T-Mobile mast on land adjacent to the Deer's Leap pub, just yards from residents' homes.

At last week's meeting of the planning committee, on Thursday May 19, council chiefs agreed to grant permission for the mast, despite a formal objection from councillors Barbara Dring, John Cotton and Keith Linnecor, backed by a petition signed by hundreds of residents from the Oscott, Sutton Vesey and Pheasey wards.

The team said the decision was a 'slap in the face' for local residents, who have successfully stopped similar planning applications in the past.

Councillor Dring said: "This is a bitter blow to the local community, who have fought hard against this proposal and previous attempts to install these unwanted masts in the Queslett Road area.

"The mast will be within yards of people's homes and is just a stone's throw away from local schools and a busy shopping area. How they can agree to this just beggars belief."

T-Mobile can now put up a 12-metre high phone mast, in a mock telegraph pole design, with two associated equipment cabinets, which would be built at the rear of the pavement.

It would be positioned near a cluster of established trees, the tallest of which is around 11 metres high.

Fellow ward councillor John Cotton said the decision could set a 'dangerous precedent' for the area.

He said: "Up until now, we have been able to hold the mobile companies at bay.

"Walsall Council have already rejected a number of similar applications for the other side of the Queslett Road and I am appalled that Birmingham City Council has not followed their example.

"There is a real danger that this will make attempts to stop any future applications much more difficult."

The team are continuing to battle against a similar application on land almost directly opposite the Deer's Leap, where mobile phone giants O2 are seeking to overturn a Walsall Council ban on putting in a mast close to Doe Bank Lane.

Oscott Councillor Keith Linnecor said: "We are lobbying hard for the Planning Inspectorate to uphold the Walsall Council decision.

'It would be an absolute disaster for this mast to also get the go-ahead following the decision of Birmingham planners to blatantly ignore local residents."


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