Anger as mast gets green light

23 June 2005 Norwich Evening News

Campaigners have been dealt a blow after a planning inspector agreed to allow a mobile phone mast to be installed in Norwich - once it has been painted light green.

Planners at Norwich City Council initially threw out proposals from 3, formerly Hutchinson 3G, to build a 12.5 metre slim-line mast at the junction of Gipsy Lane and Farrow Road, Norwich, because they deemed it an eyesore.

In July 2004 the Evening News reported how concerned families fired off more than 20 letters of objection about the application, which they felt they were not consulted about.

But the communications giant 3, formerly Hutchinson 3G, has had its appeal against the decision upheld by a Government planning inspector who visited the site last month.

“No development shall take place until after the development has been painted in accordance with a colour scheme to be approved in writing by the local planning authority,” said the inspector responsible for the report.

Householders claimed they only heard about the application after they got a letter from the Green Party asking them to object.

“I'm very disappointed,” said Helen Smith, a mum-of-one from Gipsy Lane, who was one of a number of people in the area to have opposed the application.

“We do walk down that road quite a bit just past it to walk the dog. I'm concerned that it's near to the electricity sub-station and what the cumulative effects might be.”

Mike Wensley, 69, who lives on Earlham Road near to the mast, was another person to have campaigned against the mast.

His wife, Eileen, 66, said: “We've just come back from holiday and didn't know all this was happening.

“We're both against it because it can make a lot of difference to us - both of us are not happy about it to put it mildly, it can cause a lot of problems.”

Rupert Read, a city councillor for Wensum ward where the mast will be sited, was influential in helping form the campaign against the mast in the first place.

“I feel furious and I think it's absolutely disgraceful,” said Mr Read. “One of the things that it shows is that the powers we have as local councillors and residents to stop these masts being put up are far too limited.”

Mr Read said the laws needed to be changed to give local authorities the power to stop masts springing up.

The Evening News has campaigned against the installation of mobile phone masts near to homes and schools until it is proved they are safe.

“We're pleased that the planning inspector has made that decision,” said Mike Davies, community affairs manager for 3.


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