26
Aug
2005

VILLAGERS UP IN ARMS AT PHONE MAST PLANS

Melton Today (Leic)

CONCERNED residents are fighting plans to put up a phone mast on the edge of their village.

Orange PCS Ltd wants to install a 11-metre-high mast, designed as a telegraph pole, and equipment cabinet at a site off Main Street, Burrough-on-the-Hill.

Somerby Parish Council vice-chairman Mike Roberts said residents had originally fought plans for a mast there. They had hoped Orange would find another location after investigating other sites. But now it has set its sights on a grass verge by the side of the road leading down into the village.

Somerby Parish Council has objected to the plans and Melton Council has received 16 letters of objection. Mr Roberts said two main objections were highways safety and building in a conservation area. He said: "It's absolutely outrageous and the whole village is totally against it. "It's a very dangerous stretch of road. There have been a number of deaths over the years and people have gone off into the hedge in the winter. "It's also an area of outstanding beauty and people are still concerned about radio waves from masts. It's just so wrong and we feel Orange hasn't sufficiently investigated other land in the area."

Mark Barnes, Melton borough councillor for the Somerby Ward, was also concerned about highways safety, though he added the county council's highways department had raised no objections. "There have been a number of accidents and it would be totally wrong to put another obstacle there," he said.

Orange spokesman Sue Hammett said it had looked at a number of alternative sites in the area, including the village centre and land owned by Severn Trent. She said: "We looked at the Severn Trent option but unfortunately it's a no-goer. There aren't any other options available to us now. "To get the coverage we require we need a fairly high spot and we think this site is the best option. "It's not a huge installation and scientific evidence indicates there's no risk to the public."

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She added: "It's no different to having lamp posts on the side of a road and it's like any other street furniture. "It's not put there to block drivers' views or to be a road hazard."

Jim Worley, head of physical development at Melton Council, said it could only refuse the application on the grounds of siting and design. And if the council hadn't made a decision on the application by September 13 it would go ahead by default.

christian.march@meltontimes.co.uk

25 August 2005
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