Councillor's reject plan for 12m phone mast

Stratford Upon Avon Local Paper

Report by Duncan Smith

   RESIDENTS in Stratford are celebrating this week after the power of democracy defeated plans to erect a giant mobile phone mast on the road-side.

   Mobile phone company Hutchison 3G-who specialise in the new so-called third generation mobile phones-were refused planning permission to erect a 12-metre high phone mast on the grass verge next to Evesham Road at a meeting of the Avon area planning committee last week.

   Residents of both Evesham Road and nearby Halford Road were worried about the visual impact of having a large phone mast built so close to their houses and also feared the health risks associated with such structures. The committee voted to refuse planning permission on the grounds that the structure would be "visually intrusive" on such an important approach to the town. They also listed the resident's fears of a health risk as grounds for refusal.

   The decision has pleased residents' spokesman, Mike Perry, who led a campaign to stop the plans going ahead.

   "I'm very pleased that local democracy has appeared to work; this was a completely inappropriate place to site a phone mast, so close to people's homes and so visible to everyone. I hope more appropriate places can be found to locate them in the future," he said.

   Mr Perry and the residents had been supported by Stratford MP Job Maples, who visited the site last month

   He said: "I am pleased because think it was an inappropriate location and it could have set a precedent to locate these masts on the sides on roads.  I hope the district council will help the phone company find an alternative location for the mast."

   Mike Dobson, spokesman for Hutchison 3G, told the Herald: "We still need a base station in the area to provide third generation coverage for Stratford.

   It was suggested at the meeting that we should consider the nearby cemetery for locating the mast. We are sti looking around the area, but I cannot rule out that we may appeal against the council decision."