New mast fight looms

By Gordon Rogers

Another battle is looming over plans for a new mobile phone transmitter mast in Abingdon - two years after residents fought off a similar scheme.

T-Mobile wants planning permission to erect a 15m high telecommunications mast with antennas and two equipment cabinets at Allens Carparts on the Radley Road industrial estate.

Now people living in Galley Fields say they are looking at resurrecting their old campaign.

Two years ago, 02 wanted to build a 15m mast on the same land but the Galley Fields Residents' Association, led by pensioner Ernie Wright, objected. They were backed by Abingdon Town Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council.

Councillors vetoed the mast on the grounds that it would have been visually intrusive and too close to homes. Mr Wright, 78, said: "Just when we thought we had seen off the transmitter mast then another application comes forward.

"Last time the Vale council threw it out and now a different company comes up with the same idea and we will have to go through the whole business again. It doesn't make sense to me. It's bad enough having to put up with one monstrosity of a mast overshadowing us and now we're under threat again."

Martin Smith, who chairs the town council's planning and highways committee, said: "I am surprised to see another application on the same site after we objected most strongly to the first application. We recommended that the Vale should not consider any further applications on this site. A tall mast overlooking nearby homes would be an un-neighbourly development."

A spokesman for the district council's planning department said: "We have to consider all planning applications on their merits, even if a similar proposal has come up before. The same arguments might apply and the eventual outcome could be the same, but we have to go through the process."

A spokesman for T-Mobile was not prepared to comment on individual planning applications for masts but said: "We have submitted an application to the council. We will follow the correct planning procedures and will await the decision of the local authority."

Another phone company wants to build a mast at Kennington. The district council has received an application from Nokia for a 15m telecommunications mast and equipment cabin at the Kennington playing fields pavilion in Playfield Road.

In the past three years, the district council has got tough with telecommunications companies. It refused permission for Orange to erect masts near the Boundary House pub in Oxford Road, Abingdon United's ground in Northcourt Road and a second mast at the Radley Road industrial estate.

© Copyright 2001-2007 Newsquest Media Group

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