Foxford mast plan sent back to the drawing board

by Fiona McGarry

Mobile phone company O2 has been sent back to the drawing board once again, after two unsuccessful attempts to secure permission for a 30 metre mast outside Foxford.

The company had sought permission, on two occasions, to build the mast at Clossaghroe, to the anger of a number of local people. However, its latest attempt has been judged by the county council to be invalid. Planners have told the phone company that, during a visit, the council’s area engineer found the site notice was not erected on the local road.

In a letter to O2, planners have also advised the company that the proposed development contravenes the County Development Plan in relation to telecommunications antennae. “The planning authority wish to advise that in rural areas antennae must, where possible, be located at least 500 metres from rural dwellings and sited in forestry plantations for screening,” the council’s letter said.

Mayo County Council has now advised O2 to strongly consider sharing an existing mast in the Foxford area.

The news will be welcome to more than 50 people calling themselves “the residents of Clossaghroe and the surrounding townlands”. The group objected to each of O2’s mast applications on the grounds of possible damage to scenic areas outside Foxford, and the impact on rural families living close to the proposed development.

In a letter to planners, the residents had asked: “We ask you what kind of message would be given to the visiting tourists that use this walk. If they approach Clossaghroe, they are to be faced with the sight of a fenced compound and a 30 metre tower in a beautiful scenic area. The message would not be a positive one. Especially at a time when the Government is investing approximately €20 million in attracting hill-walkers to this country.”

© Mayo Advertiser Ltd,2007



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