Phone mast plan withdrawn

by the staff of the Chester-le-Street Advertiser

AN application for permission to erect a mobile phone mast on a north Durham housing estate has been withdrawn.

Operator O2 UK applied to Chester-le-Street District Council for approval to erect a 15-metre antenna in Pelaw Crescent, Chester-le-Street.

The application sparked outrage from residents, who said it was too near a grassed area where children play. They also said they were not convinced by reports that the masts were not harmful to people's health.

Planning officers from Chester-le-Street council prepared a report for the planning committee advising it to refuse permission.

The report said: "The height of the proposed installation, relevant to other buildings and street furniture in the area, is considered to represent a form of development inappropriate for the proposed location, which would be harmful to the character and visual amenity of the area.

"It is considered that the applicants have failed to recognise or address the concerns of local residents and parents of children attending nearby schools in relation to the public perception of harm relating to the siting of this telecommunication equipment in a residential area, close to a nursery and two schools.

"The proposal is unacceptable in that this would, because of its height and siting, represent an unacceptable visually intrusive form of development in this area."

After informing O2 of its intentions, the council received a letter from its planning agents, Turner and Partners, formally withdrawing the application. Richard Winn, of Turner and Partners, said: "We had to withdraw it because it was recommended for refusal and it is our policy to withdraw rather than have it refused.

"We also had to withdraw it because we thought the land belonged to County Highways and served a notice on them.

"We have subsequently found out it isn't, so if the planning application had been approved it would have been invalid. If it was refused, we would not have been able to appeal."

An O2 spokesman said the firm was not aware the application had been withdrawn and was awaiting confirmation from its agents.

Last month, O2 announced it was appealing against the council's decision to refuse permission to install a 12-metre signal transmitter on land south of Carlingford Road, on the Garden Farm Estate.


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