Massive quarry mast needed for mobiles

13 April 2006

A MOBILE phone company has been given permission to put up another telephone mast in Cheddar, despite fierce objections.

The parish council had reacted angrily to proposals to replace a mast in Batts Coombe Quarry, with an even bigger one, saying it would ruin the appearance of the area.

But Sedgemoor District Council has given mobile phone firm O2 permission to put up the 17.25m high mast. It will have three antennas and two dishes and will be able to serve phones with '3G' technology.

The decision to grant permission comes after another mast was put up by T-Mobile in the quarry last year, despite objections from villagers.

Parish councillors said they do not understand why a mast is necessary and believe the company should be sharing a mast with another provider.

They also said they feared masts with higher power output and upgraded technology could jeopardise future digital television broadcasts.

When approving O2's application, members of Sedgemoor's development and control committee said the company should consider sharing the site in future.

Bosses at O2 said the mast was necessary because of the number of people buying mobile phones in the area. They also expect many users to upgrade to 3G technology in the future.

A company spokesman said: "Often we are asked why we cannot share masts with other networks. We do try to but the only way we can share is with one of the bigger tower masts.

"Unfortunately planning rules dictate we cannot build this type of mast in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty like the Mendip Hills.

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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