Mobile boss says the masts could be moved

Protesting against mobile mast at corner of Marsh lane and Laund nook Belper.
Protesting against mobile mast at corner of Marsh lane and Laund nook Belper.
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A MOBILE phone company boss has revealed that controversial masts could be moved to new locations if they still fitted with requirements.

He also said the firms did contact councillors and the town’s MP before the plans got the go ahead from the council – but heard nothing. He was speaking after residents claimed they had not been consulted.

It comes as residents near to the two mast sites, which now have permission from Amber Valley Borough Council, revealed their fury at the decision and have vowed to fight on.

Jim Stevenson, from mobile firm O2, said this week: “We are absolutely not riding roughshod over people’s feelings. When we put this in we didn’t hear from anybody. We wrote to councillors and the MP informing them of what we were doing, but heard nothing back.

“We did everything we thought was right. We follow a code of practice called the ten commitments. They are things we do on a voluntary basis that is agreed with the government.”

He rebuffed suggestions of health concerns and said there were no rules set out for how far a mast should be from a school. He also insisted he will meet residents to discuss their concerns and added: “Of course we can change sites, if a different site meets our requirements.”

Vodafone and O2 have permission to put up two 3G masts at two sites – one on the corner of Laund Nook and Marsh Lane, the other on Park Road.

The decision has left residents furious, claiming their views have been ‘completely bypassed’ during the consultation process.

Many residents in the Far Laund area are also fuming that the mast will go up next to a children’s playground and only 125 metres from St John’s Primary School.

Despite the opposition, the borough council was unable to turn them down because they fall under certain height and volume guidelines and thus satisfy planning rules.

Resident Mike Handley, of Pilsley Close, who has two children at the school, has set up a website opposing the masts. He will lead a group of residents to meet Tory MP Pauline Latham on Friday, April 1.

Mike said: “I think it is wrong the way it has been carried out. Most people heard about it once the horse had bolted. If councillors knew about it why didn’t they do some door-knocking or leaflet-dropping?”

In a strongly-worded email to the borough council, fellow local resident Lee Stevenson said: “These are people’s lives we are talking about. 3G is a new technology and dated planning regulations do not take this into account.”

Meanwhile, another 3G mast looks set to get the go-ahead in Belper, this time near the Whitemoor Centre on John O’Gaunts Way.

But first highways officers from Derbyshire County Council must decide whether an equipment cabinet with the mast would be a hazard to drivers. A decision is due to be made by Monday, April 18.

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