Residents lose mast battle

Lancashire Evening Telegraph

HUNDREDS of residents have lost their battle against a 20 metre-high mobile phone mast near their homes after the issue caused a rift between councillors.

Labour over-ruled opposition members of Blackburn with Darwen Council's planning committee to approve the mast at Welding Engineering Ltd, Spring Vale Road, Darwen.

A petition with 250 signatures from residents opposing the mast, to be used by O2, was presented to the committee.

In January, residents won a similar battle when O2 asked to build the mast at a site close by.

But last night Darwen Labour councillor Dave Smith told the committee: "This is the best site for the mast within this area.

"They have looked at other sites, but they aren't suitable.

"People complain about masts wherever they are put, but on the other hand they are using mobile phones like never before."

Residents argued that the proximity of the mast to their homes could pose a future health hazard, and it would be an eyesore.

Staff at the nearby Barnabas House nursery had also complained to the council on health grounds.

Resident Paul Singleton said: "This site is just over the road from the one refused. There have to be better sites locally."

Conservative Darwen councillor Fred Slater said: "There are much more suitable sites, like closer to Cranberry Moor where it would be higher.

"I'm not happy, and I feel for the residents."

The committee was told it would not be held liable under law for any subsequent health problems caused by mast, because government guidance currently stated there was no risk to people from being close to masts.

Tory councillor Alan Cottam said: "These new generations of masts don't cover such wide areas so they are going to keep popping up. The council should find sites suitable for masts, away from homes, and make all the companies share them."


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