Phone mast be­side mill is plan wor­thy of Tolkien’s Dark Lord

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Coun­cil Cor­re­spon­dent

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

by trees.

> 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

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