Residents win mast fight

By Andrew Ffrench

Residents opposing plans for a mobile phone mast near their homes in north Oxford have won their battle after demonstrating outside the city council's planning office.

Last month, home owners demonstrated outside the office, in St Ebbe's, after T-Mobile notified the council it planned to put the 30ft mast outside the Five Mile Drive playing fields, in Cutteslowe.

The Summertown Stars football club, which uses the recreation ground for Oxford Mail Boys League games, also protested against the plans.

Now the city council has backed residents in their fight to persuade T-Mobile to seek an alternative location.

Alan Glanville, of Five Mile Drive, who helped to co-ordinate the campaign, said: "I'm delighted that the council is going to ask T-Mobile to seek a different location.

‘Not every group takes their fight right to the doors of the planning office’
Campaigner Alan Glanville

"Not every group takes their fight right to the doors of the planning office and I'm sure that made the council sit up and take note.

"T-Mobile appear to have dismissed alternative industrial sites out of hand and they need to go away and look at this more thoroughly. Of course, they could appeal against the council's decision, but we hope that doesn't happen."

On Thursday, at the north area committee, councillors will be told that officers are refusing T-Mobile's application for prior approval for the 9.7m monopole on a number of grounds.

According to council officers, the mast is considered to be "unacceptable and inappropriate" for the tree-lined residential street.

They added that insufficient consideration has been given to alternative sites, and that "public health concerns" should be considered.

Jean Fooks, North Oxford city councillor, said: "There was a great deal of concern about this application from residents and T-Mobile is being advised to find a different site."

No-one from T-Mobile was available for comment, but planning consultant Richard Nash told the council earlier that the mast was needed to improve 3G mobile phone coverage.

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