Bid to screen 'joke' phone mast schemes

by Richard Williams

Halesowen Chronicle

Jun 17, 2005 , 09:39

Radical plans to stop phone mast applications that "waste tax payers' money" have been unveiled by a Halesowen councillor.

Hayley Green and Cradley South Councillor Ken Turner wants to initiate six-monthly meetings between mobile phone giants and planning bosses. The move comes three years after initial attempts to launch the scheme failed due to lack of support.

Councillor Turner said two current applications - one on green belt in Lutley Mill Road and one just yards from Huntingtree Primary School - were so outrageous they should not even go before Dudley Council's development control panel.

He said: "Both the application for the school and for the green belt land in Lutley Mill Road are a joke.

"If someone can provide me with evidence that these masts are safe to be near children I will not try to stop them being put up - but that has not yet happened.

"Any mast on green belt land will be out of place and totally alien to the environment.

We shouldn't be wasting the development control committee's time and money with this sort of thing.

Councillor Turner was instrumental in abortive plans to arrange regular meetings with mobile phone firm representatives in 2002.

"We had difficulties last time getting members to come along but I think things have changed quite dramatically since then.

"I think the time is now right for councillors to get together around a table with people from the mobile companies and look after residents' interests."

He said phone company representatives could bring prospective plans for applications to meetings where issues could be ironed out ahead of the more costly planning process.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said they would be in favour of the proposals.

"We are always very happy to talk to local councillors and make use of their extensive knowledge of the area," she said.

A spokesman for Dudley Council said no objections had been received from members of the public on either the Lutley Mill Road or Huntingtree Primary School applications.


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