Mast goes up after long protest is foiled

TIGHT security was in place as campaigners finally lost their battle to stop a mobile phone mast being erected in a Sheffield suburb.

Residents had fought against the development at the junction of Slayleigh Lane and Hallamshire Road, Fulwood, by operator Hutchinson 3G, trading as 3, for two years ago.

Hundreds of protestors took to the streets in opposition in June 2004, and kept a 24-hour watch to turn back any workmen trying to erect the mast.

Hutchinson suspended proposals to consider alternative sites, but none were found.

Yesterday police and security guards were on watch with fences round the site as workmen put up the mast.

Tom Barker, of Hallam Grange Rise, a member of protest group Sheffield Hallam Against Masts, said: "There were about 15 police officers and eight security guards. Very few residents were about because they turned up at about 9.30am when people had set out for work.

"There was no major protest because we had no advance warning, and only about 15 of us gathered to watch what was going on. It was a complete shock. There was little anyone could do. The mast is an eyesore."

Fulwood Lib Dem councillor John Knight said: "The fact they have done this work very sneakily without warning will only encourage further protests if they try to put any other masts in the area."

Hutchinson 3G said it looked at alternative sites but none were acceptable.

It asked to use the Sheffield NHS build in Old Fulwood Road but the health service refused. A proposal to site the mast at Hallam Grange tennis club, Slayleigh Lane, was refused planning permission.

Brian Spooner, of 3, said: "We have made efforts to help it blend in with the surroundings."

29 November 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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