Decision due on tetra mast plan

Stratford Upon Avon 

Report by Clare Semke

    A National company's application to erect a 40ft telecomrnunications mast in Stratford is being recommended for approval by district council planning officers tonight (Thursday) in the face of protests from 71 local residents, writes Glare Semke.

   Hutchison 3G (UK) Ltd plans to erect a tetra mast at the Junction between Evesham Road and Halford Road. Concerns raised among residents include the potential damage to health, harm to the appearance of the area, road safety and the interference to domestic appliances. A petition containing 41 signatures has already been submitted to Stratford District Council along with 30 letters and e-mails objecting to the proposal.

   But appeals against past court decisions regarding the erection of tetra masts indicate health concerns are not sufficient grounds on which to refuse permission.

   A letter submitted to the district council from Stratford MP John Maples states the site is completely unsuitable and would set a precedent for similar applications in the future.

   The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) also strongly opposes the proposal.

   If the application is given the go-ahead, the radio base station will consist of a monopole which will house three antennas, radio equipment housing and ancillary development.

   Four other potential sites have already been investigated by Hutchison 3G so far. These include the Salmon Tail pub on Evesham Road and Bridgend service station. Permission was refused in both instances. The builder's yard off Evesham Road and the Territorial Army centre were also rejected.

   The Avon area planning committee is expected to grant approval on the condition that the monopole, antennas and equipment housing should be painted and approved by the district planning authority before they become fully functional.

   The applicants claim the site is part of a roll-out of Hutchisons 3G mobile telecommunications network. A condition in the company's licence stipulates Hutchison 3G must provide coverage to 80 per cent of the UK's population by 2007.

   The committee is due to decide the application at its meeting tonight.