Mobile phone mast plans thrown out

OPPONENTS of a mobile phone mast were celebrating today after the city council threw out the controversial application.

When mobile giant O2 submitted plans for a 12.5m tower in Stanground, Peterborough, it was met by a furious response from residents.

They presented a 300-name petition to the council and put pen to paper to write dozens of letters.

Now council planners have turned down O2's plans to build the mast near Havelock Farm, off Whittlesey Road – even though local authorities are encouraged to grant permission for masts smaller than 15m.

Councils tend to approve such plans in case the authority incurs costs if the mobile phone company wins an appeal.

Houghton Avenue resident Phil Gaunt, who lives 50m from the proposed site, said it was a victory for people power.

He said: "We believe it was refused because, as a community, we pulled together, wrote letters and collected a petition.

"It showed the council that we did not want the mast here, and it has sat up and taken note. We made such a fuss that it had no choice."

The application was turned down on the grounds that it would create an eyesore.

After turning down the proposal, the council sent a letter to the petitioners, which read: "The telecommunication column, due to its siting, height and relationship with the surrounding area, would result in an unacceptable visual impact, which is not in keeping with the character or appearance of the area."

But Mr Gaunt believes that residents would not have won their battle if it had not been for a website set up by people living in Park Farm, Stanground.

Mr Gaunt advertises the website by a yellow banner across his house.

He said: "The website is a way of telling people what is going on in the community, and the banner advertises the website.

"I believe that if it were not for the website, we would not have had the same response to the mast, meaning it might not have been turned down."

However, the council is insisting that Mr Gaunt take the banner down.

A council spokesman said an application for the banner was rejected on November 15 on the grounds that it was damaging to the "visual amenity and highway safety" of the area.

He added that Mr Gaunt had a right of appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Last month The ET revealed that 255 mobile phone mast sites had been earmarked across the city since 1992.

More have sprung up in recent years after mobile phone ownership in the UK rose to 65 million.

21 November 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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