Move fails to halt mast bid

The Standard - April 2004

   Concerned councillors this week failed with a bid to stop plans for a mobile phone mast on top of Redditch Town Hall.

   At a full council meeting on Monday (March 29), it was agreed to press on with the controversial plans -despite Coun Bill Hartnett (Lab, Church Hill) Proposing to shelve the scheme.

   Details of the contract with an un-named phone company have not been revealed, but it is understood the council is set to get £4,000-a-year for allowing the mast to be erected.

   But opinion was split during Monday's debate, which saw councillors from opposing parties join forces to argue their points of view.

   Coun Mike Braley (Con. Greenlands) said: "I don't think I would impose on people something I wouldn't be willing to accept myself. We don't know if masts are safe or not and I wouldn't want to be responsible for anything which might be found to be unsafe in the future."

   However, his view was questioned by fellow Conservatives including Coun Antonia Pulsford (Feckenham), who said the Town Hall was probably the best place for such a mast.

   Coun Steve Wheeler (Lab, Central) added: "I know there's great public concern, but if I was going around the town centre looking for a suitable site, I couldn't find a better one."

   Another different view on the matter was taken by Coun Mike Chalk (Con, Feckenham) who claimed a mast would be a blot on the landscape.

   He said: "A great big steel mast plonked on top of the Town Hall would be detrimental to its design."

   Despite the concerns and fierce debate, Mr Hartnett's motion was defeated by 15 votes to nine.

   The phone company which approached the council must now  submit plans to the authority's planning committee to gain permission for a mast on the Alcester Street building.