Town centre phone mast plan put on hold

May 12 2006

Alison Anderson

FEARS for the health of children living close to mobile phone masts are not valid reasons for refusing planning permission – providing the mast complies with government guidelines.

This was the harsh message given to the development control committee of Perth and Kinross Council and to objectors of a proposed mast on the roof of the Drummond Arms Hotel in the centre of Crieff.

Applicant Hutchison 3G UK Ltd are seeking planning consent to replace the existing flagpole with a thicker flagpole which incorporates three telecommunications antennae on the roof of the B-listed building in James Square.

Colin Campbell, representing the applicants, told the committee that the visual impact of the new pole would be minimal, while on health issues, the proposals were compliant with existing guidelines.

He also explained that the mast was needed to fill a gap in mobile phone coverage in the Crieff area.

When quizzed about why his company could not mast share with other mobile phone networks, Mr Campbell said Hutchison 3G were not able to enter into agreement on mast sharing.

Crieff councillor Helen Macdonald initially motioned for the application to be rejected, claiming the hotel roof “could not be in a worse location to have a mast.”

But after being given legal advice from council officers, she changed her motion to one of deferral for the applicant to present evidence that all efforts had been made to find an alternative site and establish operational need.

The application had attracted a raft of objections, including local woman Caroline Boxer, who told the committee that her four-year-old daughter’s bedroom was just 30-50 metres from the proposed mast.

She told the committee of her and other nearby residents’ concerns about the unproven risks to health from masts, and pointed out that in the USA mast sites have to be 500m from vulnerable people.

Omega the risks to health from masts are not unproven. See under:

“The council has a duty to look after residents and it would be failing in this duty if the mast was approved,” Ms Boxer told the committee.

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2006


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