Anger over phone mast decisions

Jun 16, 2005, 16:13 Great Barr Chronicle

A decision to refuse planning permission for a mobile phone mast just weeks after approval was granted for a similar structure nearby has baffled Oscott councillors.

Government planning inspectors upheld a decision to refuse permission for the mast on Queslett Road two weeks after Birmingham's planning committee gave the go-ahead for a similar application on the opposite side of the road.

Mobile phone firm O2 applied to Walsall Council earlier this year for permission to erect a ten metre high mast on land close to the junction of Queslett Road and Doe Bank Lane. Walsall's planning committee threw out the plans, forcing O2 to appeal.

The inspectors have now decided to back the council's original decision and refuse the proposal.

In the meantime, rival phone company T-Mobile applied to Birmingham Council for permission to site a 12 metre mast on land close to the Deer's Leap pub.

Despite overwhelming opposition from local residents, Birmingham planners gave the green light to the scheme.

Ward Councillors John Cotton, Barbara Dring and Keith Linnecor, who led the fight against both applications, said that they were "baffled" by the different stance taken by the two local authorities.

Councillor Cotton said:"It simply beggars belief that one side of the Queslett Road can be ruled as wholly unsuitable for a mast by a Government-appointed inspector, while Birmingham's planners seem content to allow a mast to be put up on the opposite side of the road, just a matter of yards away.

"Residents are understandably angry at Birmingham's failure to defend their interests, compared to the tougher stance taken by Walsall Council".

Cllr Dring, who collected a 500-signature petition against the Deer's Leap mast, added: "The Planning Inspector's findings are correct and welcome, but I have to say that they will come as cold comfort to local people who have already been let down by Birmingham's decision to allow the Deer's Leap mast through without a fight."


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