Phone mast bid falls down

Jun 2 2005

By Adrian Short, Weekly News

MOBILE phone giant O2 has suffered defeat over the proposed siting of a controversial phone mast which Widnes residents believed would be a major eyesore and a potential health threat.

Since September last year, hundreds of residents have protested against the company's plans to construct a mast at the corner of Birch-field Road and Derby Road, opposite Widnes Cemetery.

But the company lodged an appeal with the Government's Planning Inspectorate after Halton Borough Council refused to give it the go-ahead.

The council has now claimed a victory for those who demanded the plans be thrown out.

A council spokeswoman said: 'The Planning Inspectorate agreed with the council that the proposal was not the best environmental option and like the council was not convinced that there was not a better alternative site in the vicinity.

'There had also been a large number of objections from local residents who were concerned about the possible effect on health.'

Cllr Rob Polhill, executive board member for the planning transportation and regeneration, said: 'The council's position on telecommunications masts is very clear - we will always work to ensure that the best environmental option is secured within the Government guidelines and in this case we were successful.'

Since the planning application was first handed to the council a series of objection campaigns were launched on the grounds of 'visual amenity' and the mast's potential for harming human health.

Protesters stressed concern that the combined radiation from the mast and two others nearby could have a greater health impact.

Residents say the borough already has enough masts but believe O2 is still determined to construct more Third Generation masts in other parts of Widnes.


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