Mast pole-axed by people power

by Kate Morrison
The Argus

People power has defeated controversial plans for a mobile phone mast in an exclusive road.

Worthing councillors voted against installing the 12-metre pole at the junction of Grand Avenue and Hythe Road after receiving hundreds of objections from residents, including actor Hugh Lloyd.

Planning officials had provoked anger by recommending that the mast is approved.

Campaigners who have spent months fighting the Vodafone mast proposal were jubilant after Worthing Council's Development Control Committee threw out the application yesterday.

Liz Simpson, of Grand Avenue, Worthing, who lives next to the proposed site for the mast, said: "It was all worth it. Vodafone must have done this so many times they're just used to riding roughshod over people."

The company said the mast was needed to improve reception in West Worthing as demand for mobile phones grows. It would be disguised as a telegraph pole.

But the scheme proposed in April sparked more than 240 objections, including opposition from actor Hugh Lloyd and his journalist wife, Sian, who live in Dolphin Lodge, Grand Avenue.

Ms Simpson was so angered by the proposals that just four weeks after a double hip replacement she spent hours delivering 400 leaflets to residents.

Councillor Tom Wye said people in his ward were especially worried about the health impact on disabled residents in Grand Avenue flats.

Some suffer from spina bifida and hydrocephalus - water on the brain.

There were also concerns about the visual impact on the expensive and carefully maintained street and possible sight restrictions on drivers turning the corner from Hythe Road.

The company said it had considered 24 other sites in the area but none were suitable.

Planning officers told councillors that if they chose to reject the mast they should do so based on its location and visual impact rather than on health grounds The Government has advised local authorities that public fears about health should not be a factor when considering phone mast applications.

Paul Yallop, 41, representing the residents of Grand Avenue, said: "We are absolutely delighted with this decision and we're ready for a fight if Vodafone appeal against it."


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