Mast victory

Susie Goldacre, right, and Alex Tucker, of Rose Hill, tear up their protest poster describing the possible building of a mobile phone mast near Humphris Garage

It was a close call, but campaigners have won their fight to stop a phone company erecting a mast in their community.

Oxford City Council refused Vodafone permission to build a 10m mast outside Humphris Garage, Rose Hill, in October, but the phone company appealed against the decision.

However, campaigners heard this week that the planning inspectorate had thrown the appeal out on the grounds of visual impact and appearance, and inadequate consideration of alternative locations.

Resident Mike Knibbs, one of those who protested against the mast, said: "I'm delighted at the news. It would only have been 24m from my property and I'm sure those emissions are still questionable. It's a victory for common sense."

Fellow campaigner Susie Goldacre said: "It's very good news. Here's a situation where a community comes out in support of an environment that looks better and functions better, and it succeeds. It's thanks to all the people that supported us."

The application was initially recommended for approval by officers, but was turned down by the council's south east area committee after it heard that 350 letters of opposition had been received.

City councillor Ed Turner, who represents Rose Hill and Iffley, said: "I'm chuffed to bits. It's quite rare for a council to win an appeal after refusing something which officers had said should get the green light, but it would have been such a blot on the area.

"I was always sure we'd made the right decision and I'm glad the planning inspectorate agreed."

An appeal by T-mobile against refusal of permission for a mast about 400m away in Courtland Road, Rose Hill, was turned down last month.

In February, North Oxford residents protested against plans to install a mast to serve Vodafone and 02 inside SS Philip and James Church in Woodstock Road. The application was refused.

In November, children in Ardley-with-Fewcott, near Bicester, formed an action group and launched a petition against plans for a mast in Fritwell Road.

Last May, hundreds of signatures were collected against an application from Three for a phone mast on the tower of St Michael's and All Angel Church in Jack Straw's Lane, Oxford.

While this application was given permission, plans for another mast in Marston Road were turned down after strong opposition.

8:59am today

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