Vodaphone loses Sunderland mast bid as residents’ protests pay-off

George Sanderson and residents from in and around Dykelands road in Seaburn with the petition against plans to build a phone mast in the TA centre grounds.

George Sanderson and residents from in and around Dykelands road in Seaburn with the petition against plans to build a phone mast in the TA centre grounds.

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PROTESTERS have scored a victory over one of Britain’s biggest mobile phone companies after it unveiled plans to build a 50ft mast near their homes.

Vodafone had applied for planning permission to construct the six-antenna telecommunications tower in TA centre grounds in Seaburn.

But neighbours living close to the proposed site in Dykelands Road vowed to fight the plans and put together a 300-name petition.

They emerged victorious from their David and Goliath struggle after Sunderland city councillors rejected the plan.

In a bid to sway the planning committee, campaigner Paul Tulloch, of Kingarth Avenue, said: “The type of mast that has been proposed is a lattice tower, which we would normally see in an industrial estate rather than a residential area.

“It is going to be towering over my property and my neighbours’ and is going to be an eyesore and obstruct the sky-line view.

He added: “It is going to be really out of character with the local area. It is going to be invasive and create an eyesore.”

Vodafone had sought to reassure householders about the safety of phone masts and stressed the need to build them in residential neighbourhoods.

Speaking at the meeting, company representative said only eight of 60 surrounding houses would face the mast.

He added: “The telecommunications industry is developing at an incredible rate and we need to have installations with antenna that can keep up with the coverage.

“If we can’t have that, we are going to have more mobile telephone masts.

“Coverage is going to be less and less, so people are not going to be able to use smartphones or tablets, which are becoming much more popular.”

Vodafone has not confirmed whether it intends to appeal the council’s decision.

Twitter: @janethejourno