30
Jun
2005

Anger over surprise appearance of mast

Aberystwyth Today

A MOBILE phone company which unlawfully put up a mast in Aberystwyth last week has spoken of its plans to put another on top of Bronglais hospital. The movements of Hutchison 3G came to light last week after Llanbadarn councillor Paul James started to investigate concerns of residents. The company erected a 15-metre mast in the yard of Clynderwen and Cardiganshire Farmers store at Parcy-Llyn overnight on Tuesday without planning permission. Cllr James described the company as “midnight commandos,” and their actions as “very cloak and dagger” and officials in Ceredigion County Council’s Planning Department were baffled by the sudden appearance. Hutchison 3G revealed late on Wednesday that they had not applied for planning permission but intended to. A spokesperson for the company also spoke of their plans to erect two other masts in the town, one on the roof of Bronglais Hospital and another on the town’s police station. Verity Stanford of Hutchison 3G said: “The current mast site is a temporary one, but we are hoping to install two permanent masts in the town in the coming months. “The company has acted in a reasonable fashion in order to secure a temporary site in the area, we are submitting a planning application which will allow local residents to put their views on our proposal to the local planning authority.” “A four-metre mast at Bronglais hospital we have planning for and there are plans for another at the police station, which we are in discussions for. “We will be applying for retrospective plan-ning permission on the temporary site. “It is important that we have a mast in the town as our customers currently have a limited service and cannot make data calls in Aberystwyth.” Cllr James responded: “Their actions are not responsible, in fact they are very irresponsible. “There is a lot of skullduggery going on. They are like midnight commandos, coming under the cover of darkness and erecting this mast.” Senior Planning Officer for Ceredigion County Council said of the temporary mast: “This was only brought to our attention on Wednesday. “This is classed as an unauthorised development and we do have powers to remove the mast. An enforcement officer from the council will visit the site and report back to us before a decision is made.” One nearby resident, Ifor Jones, who lives in Maes Mawr spoke of his disgust this week. “They can’t be able to get away with this, I am utterly disgusted. “It is so close to our houses and to Penweddig school, people are just dumb-founded. “It is an eye-sore and then there are the reported health issues. What I want to know is what the affects are in ten years time from living so close to a mast. “I noticed the mast on Wednesday morning and phoned Cllr Paul James immediately, he was down here in seconds.” Cllr James added: “My phone has been ring-ing itself off the hook from angry residents since this mast was put up. “The way it has been done it’s very underhanded. “I have spoken to the Farmers’ store and they seemed to be under the impression that Hutchison 3G had planning permission for this. “The people of Maes Mawr have had to put up with a lot, from boy racers to this, it has been hell for them. “I hope the mast is brought down so that we have a level playing field. Hutchison seem to have the upper hand at the moment.” Chief Executive of County Stores Keith Gosney said: “The situation with us is simple. “We were approached by Hutchison 3G and we said it was fine to put up a mast on our land, so long as they satisfied the local authority’s planning procedures. “There seems to be a misconception on the part of Hutchison in relation to planning rules in Ceredigion. “I can assure people that the mast will remain inactive until a planning decision has been reached.” Spokesman for Bronglais hospital Brian Thomas said: “I can confirm that permission has been granted to erect a telephone mast on the hospital roof. “The frequency Hutchison 3G will run off is outside that of medical equipment and will not cause any disruption.”
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