People power wins in phone mast battle

Feb 8 2007

By John Hill

A MASS public outcry has pole-axed plans for a 10-metre mobile phone mast in Limehouse.

Residents flooded Tower Hamlets Council with 107 objections when plans for the T-Mobile antenna were revealed at Christmas.

And the council's development committee rejected the application last Wednesday (January 30), claiming the mast was of "poor design".

The slimline pole was to be constructed off Branch Road to improve the "poor quality" reception in the area. It was also designed to cater for the next-generation 3G network, which allows users to watch video, browse the internet and listen to music on their phones.

But residents complained en masse about the "eyesore" after they were tipped off by a fellow resident.

And council planners blocked the scheme last week, claiming the design "failed to respect the character and appearance of the Limehouse Basin".

The board said: "The proposed 10-metre monopole - by reason of its poor design, excessive height and prominent siting - would appear incongruous to the site and setting as a whole."

Blackwall and Cubitt Town councillor Tim Archer claimed the mast was "totally wrong for the marina and would have stuck out like a sore thumb".

He said: "It just goes to show that when residents' voices are loud enough we can get the council to listen to us - occasionally."

T-Mobile had claimed it had chosen to position the antenna on British Waterways land in Limehouse Basin after an "exhaustive site search", and that "no other site share opportunities were available".

A spokesperson for the phone company said: "We will study the refusal and look at the options for the future.

"We're looking to provide a quality service in that area, and we thought we had struck a balance between the needs of the network and the concerns of the residents. It seems the council thought differently."

But Victory Place Residents Association chairman Donald Davies said: "It was quite interesting that they rejected it on aesthetic grounds.

"We just hope now that they don't set one up somewhere else not too far away." john.hill @wharf.co.uk

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Southern Limited 2007

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