‘No legal reason’ to obstruct phone mastBy Mike Pyle
February 02, 2011
A row over the increasing number of mobile phone masts in the borough resurfaced at a council planning meeting last week, where members rubber-stamped plans for a mast in Ascot.
Councillors disagreed on the merits of another phone mast in the borough but agreed there was no legal reason not to grant O2 and Vodafone planning permission to build the 13.8 metre tall structure in Fernbank Road.
The application was discussed at a meeting of Bracknell Forest Council’s planning committee on Thursday, January 20.
The council received seven letters from neighbours objecting to the plan for the mast, which will be accompanied by a small sub-station at its base, citing concerns over its height, looks, noise and even that it would put off sight-seers.
Letters also pointed out that a similar mast has already been built in New Road less than a mile away and some writers said phone reception in the area is good.
Councillor Shelagh Pile said: “My view on phone masts is that I don’t like them. But if people will use mobile phones and need masts for service then they are a necessary evil.
“We have no grounds to refuse the application, we would waste time and money by doing that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t say we don’t like them.
“Just because we think these things are safe now doesn’t mean things will stay that way – we used to think electricity pylons were safe but they’re having questions raised about them now.”
Cllr Dorothy Hayes added: “If we objected to everything like this that we don’t like we would be stuck with sundials.
“They aren’t doing it just because they want to put up a 13.8 metre post – they’re doing it because they want to improve the reception.
“There’s one in Forest Park which I stood against 12 years ago but people are grateful for that now.”
The councillors dismissed fears over the effect of the mast on health and over any noise it may make.
Cllr David Worrall, chairman of the planning committee, said: “I have one of these outside my house and it doesn’t make a sound.”
The mast will contain six antennas, including three O2 antennas and three Vodafone antennas, pointing in three directions designed to improve 3G mobile internet reception in the area.