Joy as phone mast gets thumbs down

NILA 12-06-12 BE 5 Phone mast application, Barling drive Ilkeston.
NILA 12-06-12 BE 5 Phone mast application, Barling drive Ilkeston.

Neighbours on the Shipley View estate celebrated the decision to turn down a plan to build a mobile phone mast last night.

Mobile phone giants O2 and Vodafone wanted to erect a 12.5m pole to improve reception on the estate, which some residents say is poor.

But councillors decided last night (Wednesday) that the cons outweighed the pros in the case of this mast, which would have been sited on a green space containing a footpath, off Barling Drive.

A number of residents attended the meeting to hear the outcome, including Charles Snarski, who has lived opposite the proposed site for many years.

He said it was one of the few remaining green spaces on the estate.

“I’m very, very pleased with the decision,” he said.

“It would have been about 12 metres from the bottom of my garden.”

Residents had written letters to the council objecting for, among other reasons, that the mast could affect people’s health.

Ward councillor Val Custance said: “The grass area is frequently occupied by children and a footpath is often used by pedetrians.”

But councillors were told that there was no evidence to suggest phone masts could harm people’s health.

Mr Snarski continued: “We don’t know about the long term effects – it’s like asbestos was a few years ago.”

Some councillors backed the plan, however.

Cllr Howard Griffiths said that better reception could, in fact, save lives as residents would have better chance of contacting emergency services.

“People are more liable to be at risk from bad connectivity than they are from a telecommunications mast,” he said.

But in the end councillors voted 10 to three in favour of refusing the mast.

O2 and Vodafone now have the option of appealing the decision to a planning inspector.