Campaigners fail in efforts to stop phone mast

Mar 27 2007

CAMPAIGNERS have lost their battle to stop a mobile phone mast going up in Caversham after councillors decided it was a bore.

More than 100 neighbours living around the Ilkley Road-Woodcote Road junction challenged Hutchison 3G's proposal for a 41-foot mast concealed in a lamppost, with three equipment cabinets around it.

But Reading borough planners left a decision on the mast to one of their officers [2014] who approved it even though the official deadline for objections had not passed.

And when neighbours turned up for a planning committee debate they were furious to hear councillors discussing the best colour for the equipment cabinets [2014] ignoring their arguments about its position and appearance.

Cllr Richard Stainthorp appeared to be taking a nap while Tory Thames ward councillor Isobel Ballsdon voiced her constituents' concerns and Labour's Cllr Pete Ruhemann later announced: "Frankly,I find this whole business quite boring as a debate."

Later, Ilkley Road resident Christine Bradbury said: "I have sent a letter outlining the reasons why I think the whole thing has been mishandled to committee chairman, Cllr Tom Crisp.

"I am incensed we have such a small voice while councillors sleep,hurl abuse and say how bored they are when dealing with important issues."

Cllr Stainthorp said: "I had read the officer's report, including the objections and how they were addressed, and listened to what Cllr Ballsdon and the resident who spoke had to say.

"I actually listen better when I have my eyes closed.

"I didn't feel either of them added anything to the report, but I actually didn't contribute to the debate about the phone mast."

Cllr Ruhemann said: "I was concerned with the way Cllr Ballsdon, and Reading East MP Rob Wilson with his letter, were climbing the nimbyism band wagon and trying to present a totally baseless case.

"The reality is that almost everybody has mobile phones, and if people want to use them in residential areas then there are going to be masts in residential areas.

"I understand fears about safety,but they are not legal grounds for refusing a phone mast application, and it is irresponsible of anyone to suggest otherwise."

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Southern Limited 2007

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