‘We weren’t con­sulted over main street mast’

Anger at de­ci­sion on 13.5 me­tre con­struc­tion

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

Strathyre vil­lagers are con­sid­er­ing their op­tions on tack­ling a re­cent plan­ning de­ci­sion to al­low a 13.5-me­tre mast to be built in the Main Street.

Vil­lagers are an­gry at mast com­pany Arqiva as they feel lit­tle was done in the way of con­sul­ta­tion.

They are also un­happy with the Loch Lomond and Trossachs Na­tional Park plan­ning and ac­cess com­mit­tee for ap­prov­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion when they say an­other site was avail­able.

Vil­lagers’ main con­cern is that the mast – for con­nect­ing Smart Me­ters – will be close to res­i­den­tial prop­erty and on a path­way which is shared as the Sus­trans Cy­cle Net­work and the award -win­ning BLiSS­trail.

SNP coun­cil­lor for Trossachs and Teith Eve­lyn Tweed said: “Peo­ple are still un­der­stand­ably upset by this de­ci­sion and want to find ways to en­sure the mast is not built in this lo­ca­tion.

“To that end, I will speak to all coun­cil­lors in the area to put pres­sure on Arqiva to con­sider mov­ing the mast else­where. I do not think this bad pub­lic­ity can be good for Arqiva or for the Na­tional Park. Vil­lagers feel that their wishes have been ig­nored and peo­ple are even call­ing to leave the Na­tional Park. There are no win­ners in the present sit­u­a­tion.”

Res­i­dent Kenny Hig­gins said: “There is a sub­dued feel­ing in the vil­lage fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion of the plan­ning com­mit­tee to rub­ber stamp the Arqiva mast ap­pli­ca­tion at this lo­ca­tion. There was not a sin­gle per­son from the vil­lage in favour of the pro­posed site.

“We all feel sorry for the Heron fam­ily who will be clos­est to this mast, which will clearly spoil their view. We won­der how the plan­ning mem­bers would re­act if such a mast were placed out­side their front door?

“We were shocked that the plan­ners and four mem­bers of the com­mit­tee would not sup­port the com­mon sense al­ter­na­tive site, which is within the re­quired en­ve­lope of the vil­lage, a lo­ca­tion that no one would have ob­jected to and ar­guably a more straight­for­ward in­stal­la­tion, be­ing the site of an ex­ist­ing now re­dun­dant mast iron­i­cally a cri­te­ria rec­om­mended in the plan­ning process, where ex­ist­ing mast lo­ca­tions are pre­ferred to new Green field site in­stal­la­tions.

“The al­ter­na­tive site would have meant no dis­rup­tion to Vil­lage Path users, to cy­clists on the shared Route 7 Na­tional Cy­cle Net­work, to hik­ers or an­i­mal own­ers who need to move horses along the path in ques­tion. The al­ter­na­tive site also of­fered the ben­e­fit of no high trees which was an ad­mit­ted con­cern at the cho­sen lo­ca­tion.

“Putting a huge mast on the dou­ble award-win­ing at­trac­tion – the BLiSS trail– which is aimed at at­tract­ing tourism, made no sense at all. There is a dis­tinct feel­ing our Na­tional Park is not act­ing in the best in­ter­est of the com­mu­nity, of much needed tourism or in­deed the en­vi­ron­ment. It ap­pears the vil­lage of Strathyre cares more about these im­por­tant is­sues than what the Na­tional Park does. We can­not un­der­stand the rea­son­ing be­hind this.

“At the turn of the last cen­tury, Harold Boul­ton wrote the lyrics to a tune that be­came fa­mous as ‘Bon­nie Strathyre’. There is noth­ing bon­nie about hav­ing a huge mast on your doorstep.”

Mr Hig­gins added that the ben­e­fits of the mast were ob­so­lete - be­cause Strathyre has no gas sup­ply to mon­i­tor.

“Many homes have dual elec­tric sup­ply that is not com­pat­i­ble with Smart Me­ters and sev­eral oth­ers, in­clud­ing my­self, have been told by sup­pli­ers that their prop­erty can­not sup­port a Smart Me­ter in­stal­la­tion due to ex­ist­ing me­ter wiring looms be­ing too short. It brings into ques­tion the plan­ning con­sid­er­a­tions of a £11bn UK Gov­er­ment roll out of these masts through­out the UK.”

We were shocked that the plan­ners and four mem­bers of the com­mit­tee would not sup­port the com­mon sense al­ter­na­tive, which is within the re­quired en­ve­lope of the vil­lage

Lin­ger­ing bit­ter­ness Site of new Smart Me­ter mast planned for Strathyre

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