3
Sep
2005

BLOCKING OF PHONE MAST OVERTURNED

Exeter Express and Echo

12:00 - 02 September 2005

Exeter City Council has lost another planning appeal to phone giant Vodafone after turning down a bid to put up a new mobile mast. Last week, the Echo revealed how Vodafone had appealed successfully against a decision by the city planners to refuse permission for a mast at the junction of Sweetbrier Lane and Honiton Road in Heavitree.

Now another mast proposal - also rejected by the council on the grounds that it would "clutter" the landscape - has gone Vodafone's way on appeal.

The company applied last October to erect a 12-metre, third generation network mast, with three antennas and equipment cabinets, in the centre of the Magdalen Street roundabout, close to the Southgate Hotel.

Some nearby householders objected, citing possible health risks, and the plans were blocked by councillors. Now, though, a Whitehall planning inspector has allowed the application.

Exeter's head of planning services, Richard Short, said: "The main issue was considered to be whether the need for 3G coverage was outweighed by any harmful effect on the area's character.

"The inspector thought it unlikely that there were other practicable alternatives to the proposed site that would provide the required coverage. He saw that there were a number of tall lighting columns, a CCTV mast and numerous traffic signs on and around the roundabout.

"He thought the proposed equipment cabinets would be relatively small and unnoticeable."

The inspector also said the mast would have no effect on health.

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Terry Foster, who lives near the roundabout, said: "I can't understand why there's a mast going up when everybody can get a signal on their mobiles."

Vodafone said it had considered other sites further from homes but none matched its needs.
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