Controversial phone mast approved

By Viv Mason

A THIRD phone mast is to be placed on Sowarth Industrial Estate, adjacent to Settle Primary School.

Craven District Council's planning committee approved an application from T-Mobile to place a 17.5-metre- high mast with three antennas and a dish on land adjacent to the electric sub-station.

However, Coun David Heather, chairman of Settle Town Council and ward representative for the area, said he was unable to support the plans because of health concerns.

"We have no way of proving that the installation will not be detrimental to the health of the children in the nearby primary school," he said.

"Since we cannot prove it, I feel that I would not be doing my job as a ward representative if I did not oppose this application."

Coun Marcia Turner also voiced concern, saying other poles were not being utilised and mast sharing should be pursued more urgently.

However, planning officer Ian Swain said the council had no power to force another operator to share a mast.

He added that shared masts made more of a visual impact on the environment because of their bulk and increased height.

"It was something we discussed, but was not feasible in this case," he said.

Coun Paul English told the meeting members could not take health issues into consideration.

"We can only do it on planning grounds and on planning grounds there is no reason why this should be refused. There are two other masts in close proximity. The only difference here is it's close to a school," he said.

"Probably most people here have a mobile phone. Those who use them do expect them to provide a service.

"Wherever a mast is built it is not going to be popular. In my opinion this is better than in many other locations," he added.

Coun Ken Hart said he refused to vote because health issues had not been proved one way or another.

"There is no proof that they do not cause harm, but there is no proof that they don't. If this application is approved, there will be three masts within 170 metres of a school," he said.

Omega see under:

The application attracted 19 letters of objection, including one from Settle Primary School headteacher Richard Wright.

The application had been accompanied by a declaration of conformity with ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection).

Omega read "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under:

The plans were approved by a majority vote with conditions, including the installation be implemented in accordance with the plans and any equipment no longer required be removed.

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