Protesters’ victory signal

A CAMPAIGN to halt proposals for a telecommunications mast in a Sheffield conservation area ended in victory this week.

Under widespread pressure from the community, the council refused planning permission for a 15-metre structure and other equipment in Causeway Head Road in the middle of Dore village.

Officers decided that the height and scale of the mast would look out of place in such a sensitive location. Not only would it clash with the conservation area, but also with a large mature tree. It was also feared that there would be an appearance of too much clutter on the street.

The application came from O2 and Vodafone, who want to share locations across Sheffield as they aim to provide coverage for a new generation of iPhones, BlackBerries and other smart phones.

It led to a big community protest. An objection was lodged by Dore Village Society, a petition was signed by 581 people and a march was held through the village last week.

One of the protesters, Dr Karine Zbinden, said: “The council has obviously taken into account what residents feel. I hope the operators will realise that a mast is not wanted in a built-up area of the village, near schools and people’s homes.”

Concerns were also raised about possible health implications but the council’s hands were tied by Government national guidelines and it judged the scheme solely on the impact on the environment.

A decision was taken by officers without reference to a council planning committee under delegated powers. The applicants have a right of appeal to the Government.

Other communities are waging campaigns against new mobile phone masts as telecommunications companies seek to improve coverage.

Residents in Millhouses are urging the council to reject plans for 14.8-metre installation at the corner of Button Hill and Millhouses Lane. No decision has been taken yet.

Protests are also emerging over an application by MBNL for equipment on a chimney dating back to the 1800s in the Hackenthorpe Conservation Area.

Owners of nearby Greenside House, Abby and David Beckett-Smith, said modern equipment should not be sited on historic structures. “It makes a mockery of conservation areas and the listed building system if this kind of thing is allowed to happen. Though the telecommunication companies involved make some attempt to disguise them, they are still visible or do not blend in satisfactorily with their surroundings.”