The mobile ‘phone mast proposed for the green at the junction of Birch Tree Avenue and Queensway was turned down by a council planning committee last night.
The committee heard representations from both residents’ associations and Cllr. Graham Arthur, who cited the quality of consultation, lack of explanation as to why alternative sites had been ruled out, and the potential harm to the openness of the green caused by the equipment cabinet. The committee then agreed unanimously to reject the bid by Vodafone and Telefonica (O2).
Pre-empting accusations of ‘Nimbyism’, Cllr. Arthur had pointed out that an application for another, more appropriate, site in the ward had recently been approved without opposition from local councillors.
The refusal comes after last year’s plans to erect a taller mast on another green, at the junction of Kingsway and Gates Green Road, were turned down on similar grounds.
Plans have been put forward to erect a mobile phone base station at the junction of Gates Green Road and Kingsway. The site – the small triangle of green where the two roads meet – has been selected by contractors working for Vodafone, and seeks to upgrade coverage in the area to the modern 4G standard.
However, consultation has been poorly carried out so far, and test drilling has taken place in front of bemused residents – confusion added to by false claims the work was being done by the council.
Now a ‘planning application
‘ (though technically a formal consultation) has been submitted and residents have until 18th June to make representations. We are certainly not opposed to an improvement in infrastructure in the ward; however, although the mast itself is in the style of a tall lamppost, the four accompanying equipment cabinets may well prove the unsightliest aspect. Apart from the significant ‘footprint’, the boxes will take up a prominent place in the street scene, with little in the proposals to address this.
UPDATE 24/6: The application has been refused by the council.