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Residents stave off the threat of phone mast

Residents of School Lane, Moss Side, originally fought plans for a phone mast in 2011. They are pictured with councillors Mary Green, far left, and Michael Green

Residents of School Lane, Moss Side, originally fought plans for a phone mast in 2011. They are pictured with councillors Mary Green, far left, and Michael Green

Leyland residents fighting plans for a phone mast outside their homes to be almost doubled in height have won their battle.

Vodafone had submitted an application to South Ribble Council to increase the size of its telecommunications mast in School Lane, Moss Side, from 11.8m to 17.5m.

Residents and local councillors had fought the plans for the original mast back in 2011, but were unsuccessful in their bid.

This time though, their pleas were heard and the planning committee unanimously voted to refuse the application last week.

Kevin Chadwick, from nearby Long Close, said: “We objected to the last application and now we’re objecting to this.

“The current one is at least screened by the trees, but this one would be well above the lamp-posts.”

Another resident said: “My bedroom looks directly out onto the mast and there are humming noises 24 hours a day.

“Would you like that outside your house? What quality of life have I got? I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

Ian Bannister added: “The mast is only a few years old and I think there was an intention all along to get a larger mast.

“It’s been done by stealth, but it was fit for purpose when it was passed, so I see no reason for it to be upgraded now.”

A woman from St James Gardens said: “Although the mast is screened for those living on Long Close by the trees, it isn’t for us, and the idea of having an even larger one is abhorrent to me.

“I can hear the buzzing too. I beg of you not to allow this.”

Councillor for the Moss Side area, Michael Green, also stood up for residents.

He said: “I agree with the residents’ concerns.

“Sadly, three years ago, it was unfortunate that the committee did not agree with the concerns then.

“What we’ve got now is overbearing and out of character with the area already, but we can’t change that.

“The proposal for it to be 50 per cent higher would have a massive impact on neighbouring residents.

“The community is not against telecommunications technology; we all make use of it, but it is not right for here.

“It would be visible for miles around.”

Planning officers had recommended refusal because the mast “would be situated in an unduly prominent position close to residential properties and, by way of its siting and appearance, would be detrimental to the visual amenities of residents and passers-by.”

But planning manager Helen Hockenhull said at Wednesday’s committee meeting: “I think we will see more applications like this in the future I’m afraid.

“Especially with 4G technology, telecommunications companies want to increase their technology, and the government encourages that.

“So much so that the Government has changed its policy so that companies don’t need permission for a mast below 20m in height – it used to be 15m.

“The issue of noise is something we can look at through the environmental health team to see if there is something we can do about that.”

 

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