Outrage over mast on pavement

Bewildered Kenilworth residents have hit out at a mobile phone company after applying to site a phone mast on the pavement in the town centre.
O2 has applied to Warwick District Council for planning permission for a 12.5metre high "monopole" with shrouded antennas and associated equipment cabinet in Abbey End, between the bus shelters.

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The mobile phone company was told to go back to the drawing board by Kenilworth town councillors last month when commenting on a pre-application consultation by its agents.

But the company ignored their comments and is pressing forward with the application, which was brought to the attention of residents this week.

Carolyn Allinson, who lives in Abbey Court, is starting a petition, which she will be taking around the market on Thursday.

She said it has come as a complete surprise to everybody and with time ticking away she is desperate to make sure the feelings of residents are made known to the Warwick District Council's planning department.

She said: "There is a notice stuck to a tree in Abbey End but it was all rolled up and not very visible. I went into the shops and nobody seemed to know about it.

"It is going to be twice as high as the lamppost and will be an eyesore in an area which has been refurbished. There are also health concerns. We do not know if it is going to be harmful in the long term and it is in one of the most public places in the town."

Jonathan Selby, managing agent for Abbey Court, added: "I was surprised at the application. There are a lot of residential units there and I hope the council will not allow permission for it to be erected."

But an O2 spokesman said: "The more people that use mobile phones the more sites we need. This site is needed quite urgently for coverage and capacity in the area. The masts are not unlike street lights and we try and fit them in with other street furniture. They are very low powered radio transmitters and have to be where people use their phones."

At the council meeting last month town mayor Coun Michael Coker (Cons, Abbey) said: "It is entirely inappropriate in the position mentioned. A great deal of money has been spent on improvement of the area with new flowerbeds and tree planting. To plonk a nearly 40ft aerial right in the centre of it seems entirely wrong accompanied by ugly boxes. I think we should make it very plain that it is completely inappropriate as far as we are concerned."

28 September 2006

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