Phone mast beside mill is plan worthy of Tolkien’s Dark Lord
A65-FOOT tall phone mast near JRR Tolkien’s childhood home has been compared to the work of evil Lord of the Rings’ villain Sauron.
Vodafone has obtained planning permission for the monopole at Cole Bank Road in Moseley – despite significant concerns from Birmingham Museums Trust.
It argued it was too close to the grade II-listed Sarehole Mill as well as the fantasy author’s former home on Wake Green Road.
A summary of their objection said: “Sarehole Mill is a national asset with connections to Birmingham’s industrial history and to the internationally loved stories of JRR Tolkien whose childhood home is nearby.
“It is the only surviving water mill of 60 that used to stand along the Cole Valley.
“The mast would obtrusive and form a historic surroundings.
“It is not far from Tolkien’s childhood home on Wake Green Road, he hated the desecration of beautiful landscapes by ugly and inappropriate development, I suspect he would see the mast as an example of the work of Saruman or Sauron, and would not want this installation to be inflicted on his beloved Shire.”
The trust also argued it would obstruct the annual festival celebrating the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit writer.
There were 11 formal objections submitted to Birmingham City Council while Cllrs Liz Clements (Lab, Bournville and Cotteridge), Tim Huxtable (Cons, Hall Green South) and Lou Robson (Lab, Hall Green North) all opposed.
A 49-name petition against also submitted at a late stage. be extremely blight on the it was
The council’s planning committee approved the mast last Thursday but not before some members echoed the trust’s concerns.
Cllr Gareth Moore said: “I do have concerns with the fact this application is opposite a listed building Sarehole Mill.
“Clearly the museums trust has felt necessary to object to it because they have serious concerns.
“I appreciate it is just a telephone mast but still they have concerns it is going to have an impact.
“I think we need to perhaps find an alternative site which could deliver the mobile phone coverage which is clearly required but in an area which doesn’t impact on Tolkien’s legacy.”
Whilst Cllr Bob Beauchamp said: “It is not like me to go against these masts.
“They are so needed within the city, within the community and all over the country for that matter.
“But to put it there beggars belief. Has any other site been examined?
“It is very difficult to say no to these but I feel on this occasion with the historic interests around the area it is perhaps the wrong spot.”
In response to the concerns officers said Vodafone had followed ‘proper process’ in justifying the location ahead of other sites adding the spot was on the opposite side of the road to the mill and screened
> The former home of JRR Tolkien at 264 Wake Green Road, Moseley. Below right, the famous author
> Sarehole Mill, in Moseley, was an inspiration as Tolkien grew up near by