Mast protesters win their battle

Preston Today

Hundreds of campaigning residents were celebrating today after a mobile phone company was banned from erecting a mast in their neighbourhood.

Planning bosses at Preston Council turned down an application from T-Mobile for a 14.7m mast on Granton Walk, Ingol, Preston. It followed a mass objection from people in the area concerned about their health and its closeness to homes, schools and a church.

They were also worried that it could become a target for vandalism. A total of 268 people put their names to two petitions and a further 21 sent letters of objection to the council.

T-Mobile wanted to erect the mast, looking like a telegraph pole, next to a parade of shops with flats above.

A report to the planning committee said: "The proposed mast would be situated in a prominent position close to residential properties and, by way of its siting and appearance, would be detrimental to the amenities of local residents and passers-by.

"It would be uncomfortably close to neighbouring residents and such a prominent mast would be visually intrusive.

"A number of objections raised have concerned the perceived threat to health associated with such developments."

The application, which included three antennae, a transmission dish and equipment cabinets, was unanimously rejected by members of the planning committee.

Terence Felton, 75, who lives on Tag Lane , opposite the proposed site, said: "Nobody can say whether it's going affect health or not. "There were certain people who said if it goes up it would be straight down. "If it's been stopped, then I'm pleased."

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Mr Felton, who runs Felton's Yard, an army surplus store on Lincoln Street , off Deepdale Road , Preston , said: "I'm in business and I can't put signs up in the street."

On behalf of the residents, Coun Bill Shannon, who represents Ingol, raised the matter with the planning committee. He said: "Twelve months ago we had two masts in Ingol – we now have five."

Coun Shannon said he had also met bosses from T-Mobile and drove round the area with them to look at alternative sites on wasteland, away from homes.

An application for a 12m high mast outside St Margaret's Church, on nearby Tag Lane, was refused in February 2003 for similar reasons.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said: "We are disappointed with the decision as we work hard with local communities and planning authorities to find suitable locations for the siting of masts. "We will review the situation, however. We have not decided on next steps at this stage."

e-mail: emma.broom@lep.co.uk

21 June 2005


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