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Mile Cross families win mobile phone mast fight

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 July 2011 | UPDATED: 14:43 05 July 2011

Norwich City Hall

Norwich City Hall

EDP pics © 2007

Families have won their battle to stop a mobile phone mast from being installed opposite their homes, after councillors agreed it would be an eyesore.

Vodafone Ltd had lodged an application with Norwich City Council to install a 14.8m column at the junction of Bowers Avenue and Lefroy Road in Mile Cross.

But, at a meeting of the city council’s planning applications committee, members decided not to award approval for the mast.

A number of families had objected to the proposals, saying the mast was unsightly and would lower the value of their homes.

They said they were also worried about potential health impacts and that mobile phone reception in the area was good already, so they could not understand why another mast was needed.

Civic watchdog the Norwich Society also raised concerns about the mast, saying it would be very prominent at the proposed site.

Officers had recommended approval be granted, saying that, although the mast would be taller than nearby trees and street lights, it would not be out of keeping with the surroundings.

They told the committee that alternative sites had been explored and rejected and that the mast would meet International Commission Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines.

They reminded the planning committee that it was a matter for the government, not local councils, to consider what measures are necessary to protect public health, so it was not up to them to consider the health concerns.

But the committee decided not to approve permission for the mast, giving the reason that it would have an “unduly prominent visual impact” on the area.

Five city councillors voted to reject the scheme, two voted against that refusal and two abstained. Richard Edwards, Green party county councillor for Mile Cross, who lives in Bowers Avenue and spoke out against the mast at the meeting, said afterwards: “I’m happy that the planning committee rejected this application.

“All the residents I spoke to who live near the proposed site were against the installation of a phone mast on this site.

“Most residents did not want to have to look at a phone mast when they looked out of their windows.”

Along with the mast, which would have included three 3G antennas, Vodafone had also hoped to install an equipment cabin.

Are you fighting a planning application where you live? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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