Families' mobile phone mast victory

PETER WALSH
20 February 2007 08:18

Families are celebrating yet another victory in the fight against mobile phone masts being installed close to homes and schools.

Phone company T-Mobile had applied to Norwich City Council to install an 11.8metres mast close to St Anne's Church and the Colman Area Housing Office on Colman Road.

But the mast - which would have been yards from the site of two other failed applications - has been turned down by city council planners under delegated powers after more than 100 people objected to the mast.

It is the latest in a string of victories against such masts at locations across the city as a result of people power.

Sylvia Gordon, 76, who lives with her husband John on George Borrow Road, close to the site of the proposed mast, said today she was delighted council officers had refused permission on the grounds it “would detract from the amenity of the residential area”.

She said: “We thought it was really obtrusive to put it there and we don't think that phone companies should be allowed, for their own commercial reasons, to plant these ugly masts where people don't want them - we were pleased to know it wasn't going to be put there after all.”

Mrs Gordon, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years, said people in the area have successfully seen off a host of other mast applications over the years.

“I think that's the only reason they haven't been able to put them up,” she said. “It's not really acceptable for people to have these masts near to them. We think the city council has made great strides in cleaning up this ward - the verges and graffiti -and it would have been a real backward step to have put a thing there near to homes and gardens. We just don't want it.”

Roy Blower city councillor for University ward, said it was the sixth mast people living in the area have seen off in recent years.

“I'm delighted, once again the community has seen off big businesses trying to impose an eyesore on them,” he said.

“More than 100 people wrote in whether to us or directly to the council and made known the depth of feeling in the area.”

Mr Blower said the council's decision to refuse masts in the area previously could set a precedent which would make it difficult for other phone companies to try to get other masts installed in the area.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said: “We will have to consider our future options in light of the council's ruling.”

The Evening News, through its Put Masts on Hold campaign, has fought against the installation of masts close to homes and schools until it is proved they are safe.

Last January O2 appealed against a decision by Norwich City Council to refuse permission for a 15metre mast near to the Moss Pharmacy in Colman Road even though the application had more than 500 objectors.

In 2002 Hutchison 3G, now 3, had its plans for a 13m mast next to the Colman Road Area Housing Office car park rejected after a petition was raised on the grounds it would have a negative impact of the surroundings.

Are you campaigning against a planned mobile phone mast where you live? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772439 or e-mail peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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