Residents’ joy and despair over phone masts

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PROTESTERS against a proposed mobile phone mast near an entrance to Graves Park have finally won the day – but one can be installed in Lodge Moor, despite objections from residents and the council.

In both instances, a Government planning inspector was asked to make a ruling after an application was rejected by the council and an appeal was made by telecommunciations companies.

He upheld the decision to refuse permission to Vodafone Ltd/Telefonica for equipment opposite the junction of Warminster Road and Hemsworth Road.

Residents, local councillors and customers of the Rose Garden cafe in Graves Park had objected to the proposed 12.5-metre mast.

Friends of Graves Park complained that they had not been formally consulted.

They also questioned a proposed location near a park and playground and in an area “starting to be overloaded with street clutter”.

A petition from customers of the park cafe said: “We think putting an extra mast here is wrong as it will make the area less attractive and should not be sited so close to the children’s playground and the animal farm.”

The council had said a mast would be “visually intrusive”, and the planning inspector agreed that there were already a large number of telegraph poles, traffic signals and signs in the area and that the proposed column and equipment would add to the “paraphernalia”.

Meanwhile, an appeal has been allowed after the council rejected plans for a 12.5-metre mast in Redmires Road, near the junction with Worcester Road, on the basis that it would be a “prominent and obtrusive feature” when viewed from the green belt, even though the site was more appropriate than those previously suggested by the companies.

A resident of Redmires Road, who was among several objectors to the application, said: “This is a residential area and such a mast would be an eyesore.

“The proposed site currently offers unrestricted views across the Hallamshire golf course, Rivelin Valley and, to the south, the south Pennine hills, and is a truly scenic aspect which would be ruined...”

But a planning inspector gave the go-ahead to O2 and Vodafone, which are looking to share the mast.

A report back to the council said: “The main issue addressed by the inspector was the effect of the siting and appearance on the character of the area.

“The inspector was of the opinion that the mast, due to landform and screening around the area, would not be unduly prominent, both from the built-up area and from the green belt.

“Alternative sites had been investigated, but were not as suitable as the appeal site. The site is to be a shared site, so the mast will be taller and bulkier than if used by a single operator.

“However, this is considered a better option than having to find a second site in the area to locate an additional mast, were this to be for a single operator.”