17
Jun
2005

Why a whole lot of new masts are lining up

Ilkley News 16.06.05

ADVANCING technology is the main reason why so many applications for phone masts are beginning to sprout up in the Wharfedale area, according to to a local councillor.

The technology used by many mobile phone companies today is Third Generation - more commonly known as `3G' - which essentially turns phones into multimedia players, with the capacity to download music and video clips.

Councillor Chris Greaves (Con, Wharfedale) told villagers attending the Menston Neighbourhood Forum last week that the Government has sold off 3G licenses for billions of pounds, and mobile phone operators need the infrastructure to run the services.

He said the previous 2G service required fewer but larger masts. However, the 3G service requires more but smaller masts.

Councillor Greaves said councils must follow Government policy regarding planning applications for masts.

And he added that the Government encourages new telecom systems and competition, which is why proposals for smaller masts can be `fast-tracked'.

The smaller masts, which are under 15 metres tall, require the applicant to submit a prior notification plan, in which a council is told by the operator that they intend to erect a mast.

The council then has 56 days to consider the proposal, and if refusal is not delivered within that time, the mast can be put up.

Coun Greaves said the second type of mast are those over 15 metres tall, which do require planning permission.

Planning officers have the delegated power to decide a refusal, and if officers recommend approval the decision is always made by the Area Planning Panel.

Coun Greaves stressed that if a refusal is not justified for policy reasons, it would be overturned on an appeal by the operator. He also said if a refusal is determined to be `perverse', a council could be sued with costs being awarded to the operator.

When deciding on a mast application, planning panels are allowed to consider design and siting issues.

But Coun Greaves said panels cannot refuse a mast on the basis of proximity to houses or health issues.

Two mobile phone mast proposals were recently proposed for Menston, one an application for a site on Bingley Road which was refused and the second a `prior notification' proposal at the Menstone Social Club that was withdrawn.

More than 200 Menston people rallied to the call of Farnley Road residents in a protest against the now-abandoned plan to put up a mast at the social club.

People living near the Coultas Close club recently called for the support of those living elsewhere in the village, against the plan they claimed would spoil the appearance of the area.

They also feared the as yet unknown long-term effects of mast emissions on the health of those living near masts.

Mobile phone network T Mobile has since withdrawn the plan, and is looking at putting up a mast on Bradford Road in Burley-in-Wharfedale, which is also attracting opposition.

A 238-signature petition drawn up against the now-withdrawn Coultas Close mast is due to be noted by Bradford Council's Shipley Area Planning Panel today.

Councillors are expected to note that the petition, plus any details of new proposals in the area, should be brought before a future panel meeting.

Posted Thursday 16 June 2005

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Councillor Greaves needs educating!

David B
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