Peo­ple power wins the day in mast bat­tle

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By NICK REINIS

PAS­SION­ATE peo­ple power has forced plan­ners to re­ject pro­pos­als to erect a 12-me­tre high mo­bile phone mast in Peter­bor­ough.

Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant Orange had hoped to put up the mast, de­signed to look like a lamp post, on a grass verge op­po­site the Thorpe Hall Hospice at the junc­tion of Thorpe Road and Aud­ley Gate.

But af­ter ob­ject­ing res­i­dents sub­mit­ted a 109-sig­na­ture pe­ti­tion and re­ceived back­ing from all three West Ward coun­cil­lors, city MP Ste­wart Jack­son and city coun­cil leader Cllr Marco Cer­este, the plans were re­jected by Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee yes­ter­day at the Town Hall.

Orange had ap­plied to build it there be­cause its cur­rent mast for the area is cur­rently on the roof of Peter­bor­ough District Hos­pi­tal and will be lost when the site is de­mol­ished and re­de­vel­oped.

But res­i­dents raised con­cerns that the new mast would look out of place near to their homes.

Speak­ing at the meet­ing, res­i­dent John Drewnicky said: “Yes, it may look like street light­ing but it is three me­tres higher than the other light­ing in the area.

“This is hap­pen­ing be­cause the ex­ist­ing mast is be­ing moved from the hos­pi­tal. There are ar­eas there that are not be­ing re-de­vel­oped but they have not been sug­gested.”

Ob­jec­tions were also raised by Peter­bor­ough MP Ste­wart Jack­son who raised con­cerns about the mast’s prox­im­ity to homes in Aud­ley Gate, Thorpe Road and Thorpe Park Road.

He also com­plained about its lo­ca­tion near to a ma­jor pedes­trian route to Jack Hunt School, in Nether­ton, and the loss of vis­i­bil­ity it will cause driv­ers at the busy road junc­tion.

West Ward coun­cil­lors Nick Ar­cu­lus, Matthew Dal­ton and Sa­man­tha Dal­ton all ob­jected claim­ing the mast would have an ad­verse im­pact on the area’s char­ac­ter.

While coun­cil leader Marco Cer­este waded in to ask plan­ning of­fi­cers to look for a po­ten­tial new site for the mast be­cause of the vol­ume of res­i­dents’ com­plaints.

City coun­cil plan­ning of­fi­cers rec­om­mended that the ap­pli­ca­tion be re­fused and af­ter a short dis­cus­sion, the nine coun­cil­lors on the com­mit­tee, went along their rec­om­menda- tion.

They re­jected the pro­pos­als on the ba­sis that they would not be in keep­ing with the area’s char­ac­ter, par­tic­u­larly as it would be taller than the other lamp posts.

A spokesper­son for Orange said they would de­cide in the near fu­ture if they will ap­peal. She added: “Orange are cur­rently search­ing for re­place­ment sites in the area as we have been asked to va­cate our ex­ist­ing site at Peter­bor­ough District Hos­pi­tal due to re-devel­op­ment work.

“The site in Thorpe Road would be re­quired, along with three other sites, to main­tain the level of cov­er­age that we are cur­rently pro­vid­ing our cus­tomers in the area once the ex­ist­ing site is re­moved from the net­work.

“Dur­ing our plan­ning process we try to take the lo­cal sur­round­ings and ex­ist­ing street fur­ni­ture into ac­count to en­sure phone masts are as vis­ually un­ob­tru­sive as pos­si­ble.

“Nat­u­rally we are dis­ap­pointed that our plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion has been re­fused.”

VIC­TO­RI­OUS: Cllr Nick Ar­cu­lus with John Drewnicki and Longth­orpe res­i­dents who have suc­ces­fully op­posed the build­ing of a mo­bile phone mas

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