Fury over council’s ‘sneaked in’ mast

By RICHARD DOWN

OUTRAGED residents have been left seething amid claims they were not told about plans to build a 100ft mobile phone mast near their homes.

A giant mobile phone mast for Orange is being built on the boundary of Guilden Sutton and Littleton but Tarvin Road residents say Chester City Council failed to consult them about it.

Edward Courage, 50, of Tarvin Road, said: “Planning permission for a mast has been applied for a number of times in the past but the applications have been unsuccessful and have been rejected but this time it has been allowed to go through.”

He is furious because he believes the city council sneaked the consultation through last September without properly consulting the people along Tarvin Road.

He said: “The Guilden Sutton ward had a site meeting but omitted to ask us to it. The first we’ve heard about it is the idea we have to go to the High Court to make our views known.

“The city council has told us it’s our only recourse, that and the ombudsman.

“Unfortunately none of us know how to go about doing either of these things.

“I think all 50 people living along here have signed a letter to the council asking for the mast to be shrouded or moved.

“The only shrouding the mast has had is that it has been painted green.

“The reason we’re so annoyed is the only joy we have is the view to the north. We feel completely let down.”

Like many other residents along the road he feels the height of the mast is excessive.

Mr Courage said: “There must be at least 100 masts in Chester, there’s no need to build the mast so high.”

Disputes

Another Tarvin Road resident said: “Everyone along the road is affected by it and you can see it from the road.

“We want to get as many facts together about this as possible to make sure what we’re saying is right. Then we will be in a better position to act.”

Brian Hughes, development co-ordination manager, said: “I’m going out to a meeting with the residents on Thursday.

“But the planning board generally only notify people within a certain radius and the Tarvin road properties are not in the 200 metre radius of the transmitter.”

He also disputes the fact the council has acted unfairly in the way they have gone about accepting the mast.

He said: “No-one has a right to look over someone else’s land for a view. They’re not in a position to protect their view and people’s views are not something we can take into account in considering a planning application. I understand their point but you can’t do anything about it.”

The city council is already reviewing the process by which the permission was granted, which is standard practice when complaints are made after a planning board approval but Mr Hughes was confident the review would not find any fault in council procedures.

He said: “We realise this needs to be done as soon as possible so the residents know where they stand.

“They want a firm position from us so they know whether we feel we have made a mistake or not then they’re able to take the next step.

“I’m not sure I want to go into speculating about the possible outcomes.

“The ombudsman can’t change the decision but he can require the council to pay compensation if he feels their homes have been unduly affected by a planning decision. The other course of action is to take things to judicial review.”

news@chestereveningleader.co.uk

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