People power halts bid for new mast

PETER WALSH
25 July 2006 12:36

A mobile phone company has had its bid to build a new mast scuppered after planning chiefs said they should put their antennae up on existing poles.

The decision by Broadland District Council to stop O2 putting up a new mast in Dussindale Drive, Thorpe St Andrew, has delighted families who protested against the plans.

Planners said a new mast would be an eyesore and said existing telecommunications sites should be considered.

However, campaigners suffered another blow today when O2 announced it was considering appealing against the decision.

A spokeswoman said mast sharing was not an option in this case because they needed much bigger sites to carry that out.

“It's early days yet and a decision has not yet been made,” she added. “Sites are needed in the area so having no mast is not an option. The decision will be made in due course about whether to appeal or not.”

The mast was initially to be sited just yards from a plot of land at Vane Close, off Dussindale Drive where work to build a £4million primary school has started.

The choice of site initially caused outrage among families living in the area, who campaigned against the mast leading O2 to withdraw the application in March.

But the new site, which was to be opposite an existing 10m mast operated by Orange, also sparked opposition and a campaign headed by mum-of-two Michelle Dickerson.

Mrs Dickerson, from Association Way, off Dussindale Drive, spoke at the planning meeting to voice her opposition to the mast which stemmed from fears over health and the visual impact of the mast.

“This is an unacceptable eyesore in my residential area,” she said. “Had the O2 mast been built it will not blend in with existing street furniture, but instead the two masts (Orange and 02) would have had the appearance of rugby posts as you look up or down the road.

“Dussindale is a residential area which does not want or need these masts.”

Mrs Dickerson, who urged others in the area to voice their opposition to, said she was delighted the planning committee had decided to refuse the application.

“I couldn't quite believe it,” she said. “I think there was a large amount of support from all the local residents round here. Everyone got together and wrote letters to say they weren't happy with it. There was great support from everyone, it was people power and I think it just worked really.”

The Evening News has campaigned against the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe through our Put Masts on Hold campaign.

Are you battling a mobile phone mast application where you live? Telephone Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on (01603) 772439 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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