Claverhouse mast given go-ahead

02 June 2006

The Scottish Executive has once again overruled councillors to allow a mobile phone mast to be put up in Dundee, writes Grant Smith.
Vodafone will now be able to expand its 3G network with a 13.5m mast and antennas at Forfar Road, next to the Claverhouse West industrial estate.

It has become almost routine for phone companies to successfully appeal against the refusal of planning permission, with only one case out of nine being rejected by the Executive’s inquiry reporters unit during 2005/06.

In this instance, the ruling reverses a 15 to 10 vote by councillors that the mast would result in “visual clutter” because there were already another two masts a short distance away.

There had also been a petition with 116 signatures and a letter of objection from the Mill O’ Mains residents’ association, which raised health concerns about the possible effect of emissions on pupils at a nearby primary school.

In their appeal, Vodafone argued that the telephone pole-like mast would be designed and positioned as sensitively as possible to minimise its visual impact.

Sharing one of the existing mast sites was not a good option because a taller, thicker pole would have to be used to accommodate the extra antennas.

In his judgement, Executive reporter Ron Jackson noted that Vodafone was intending to put up a fence around the mast’s base station and plant trees to provide screening.

There were already several street lighting columns, large road signs and a CCTV camera pole in the area and one more mast would make little difference.

He said, “I consider that it would not be visually intrusive in that particular urban location.

“It would simply appear as another pole, of which there are many at that location.”

Mr Jackson rejected the residents’ association concerns about emissions, saying he had found nothing to substantiate them. In any case, the Executive had ruled that emissions need not be taken into account when deciding on planning applications.

Claverhouse councillor Andy Dawson said he was “sorely disappointed” by the outcome of the appeal, which he felt was undermining the role of elected members.

“We have people coming into the town and overturning our decisions when we have the local knowledge. This wasn’t the first time and I don’t think it will be the last.”


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