Anger at ‘huge’ mast

17 January 2007

The mast at Downfield bus terminus.

Residents of Downfield in Dundee have expressed their anger at Government legislation that has allowed a mobile phone company to erect a telecoms mast without planning permission.

Contractors working on behalf of T-Mobile have put up a temporary mast near the junction of St Mary’s Street and Cox Street using emergency legislation from Scottish planning laws.

The structure is twice the size of other masts in the area and stands in plain sight of surrounding neighbourhoods.

Lee McMurchie, of St Mary’s Road, said he would be asking local residents to petition T-Mobile for its removal.

He said, “They have erected this huge mast right outside my door. I think residents should have been consulted before such a monstrosity was put up.

“The council has told us the company is allowed to put the mast up for a six-month temporary period without planning permission or consultation with residents. It’s a disgrace.

“There are two other 30-ft masts nearby, but they are partly obscured by trees so they don’t bother anyone.”

Dundee City Council said it was powerless to intervene in the matter for six months as the company had acted within the law.

A spokesman said, “Under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order, T-Mobile has the power to summarily erect the structure in an emergency.”

Martin Cheyne, acquisitions director of T-Mobile contractor Wilkinson Helsby Projects, confirmed the mast has been put there on a temporary basis to replace one removed from a building at Baberton Court, which is undergoing redevelopment.

T-Mobile is obliged by the terms of its licence to provide coverage at all times, and the company claims the temporary mast is necessary to conform to that licence.

Mr Cheyne said his understanding of the emergency powers afforded to T-Mobile would not permit the company to erect a shifting network of temporary masts to plug holes in the mobile coverage, thereby allaying fears that, after six months, the telecoms company could simply shift the mast to another location.

WHP was not in a position to comment on whether it would respond to residents’ objections and remove the mast once Mr McMurchie’s petition has been lodged, saying any decision would have to come from T-Mobile.

A liaison officer at the firm has been informed about the situation and said he would comment in due course, although no response had been received at the time of going to press.

© All copyright D C Thomson & Co Ltd., 2007

//www.eveningtelegraph.co.uk/output/2007/01/17/story9186076t0.shtm

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