16th Sep, 2019

Victory for people power as controversial mast plans rejected

Sarah Mason 13th Dec, 2017

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to install a mobile phone mast in Solihull have been refused by the planning committee after objections from 700 petitioners.

The plan to put up a 15-metre mast and equipment cabinets for Vodafone on the grass verge outside The Lodge in Yardley Wood Road were unanimously turned down by planning chiefs, despite officers’ recommendations to approve it.

The committee refused the application based on a policy within the Local Development Plan, which states any mast should be at a distance of at least twice its height from the nearest residential properties.

Campaigners at the meeting spoke about their fears over health to children in the area going to school or nursery, the mast being out of scale with the area and increase in noise levels.

This was backed up with two petitions with more than 700 signatures that were handed to the council ahead of the meeting.

The committee of councillors was told at the meeting if they decided to reuse the application it would contravene national policy, which states local authorities should not impose a ban on new telecommunications nor insist on minimum distances between new telecommunications development and existing development.

Council officer James Carpenter said local planning policies had to conform with national planning policies.

Speaking after the meeting, Coun Brian Holmes praised residents for their community spirit.

He said: “I am so grateful to the residents, I canvassed with them and got signatures for the petition.

“I can’t thank them enough for their help and all their hard work to get the petition together.

“It just goes to show that 500-plus people can move mountains.”

Solihull MP, Julian Knight has also raised the matter in the House of Commons and handed in a petition there.

He said: “It is a great victory for local residents that the planning for the mast, in its current form, has been refused.

“I have worked hard to ensure that the voices of local residents have been heard, by presenting a petition to the House of Commons, putting pressure on the council, as well as liaising with Vodafone directly.

“I would like to congratulate the local campaign group, the council and Coun Brian Holmes who have also worked hard on the matter, and listened to the concerns of the local community.”

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