Wells Journal, Somerset

18:00 - 19 August 2005

Campaigners have won their battle against plans to put a mobile telephone mast in a residential area near Wells city centre. On Tuesday Mendip planners announced that they were refusing permission for telecommunications company Hutchison 3G to put a 12 metre high mast on Bath Road.

When the plans were announced, hundreds of outraged residents joined together to oppose the plans, forming a pressure group, collecting signatures and writing letters to the council.

As a result, planning officers at Mendip District Council received a petition of 575 signatures and addresses and 284 letters protesting against the proposal.

County Councillor for Wells John Osman said: "This decision is a triumph for the people of Wells and a tribute to all those who worked so hard to fight against it, collecting signatures and writing letters.

"However, we must not think that the fight is over. We can be sure that Hutchison 3G will not stop here and we must keep working to ensure that any mobile phone masts are sited safely away from schools and residential areas." Planning officer Ken Taylor gave three reasons for refusal.

The proposed site was next to the former service station which currently has planning permission both for the replacement of the garage and for nine houses to be built on the site.

In his report Mr Taylor said: "It is a material consideration that the housing development on the garage site could be implemented. It is considered that were this to be constructed the area would be of a predominantly residential nature and the appearance of the proposed mast would have a harmful impact on the character of the a rea." He also said that if houses were built onthe site then the mast would be directly in front of the entrance which could cause problems for vehicles entering and leaving.

The third reason for refusal was the anxiety caused to neighbouring residents by the possible adverse health effects caused by the mobile telephone mast.

Mr Taylor said: "The anxiety that would be caused by the possible adverse health effects of the technology associated with the proposed installation would significantly diminish the living conditions for people occupying residential properties in close proximity to the site.

"This harm outweighs the need for the proposed installation, particularly as it has not been demonstrated why the proposed installation is only required to provide coverage for a particular part ofWells and why other sites with a lesser impact upon people's living conditions cannot be utilised to accommodate the applicant's network coverage requirements."



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August 2005

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