Victory for phone mast protestors

Coun Dianne Snowdon at the site where the phone mast was proposed in Washington.
Coun Dianne Snowdon at the site where the phone mast was proposed in Washington.
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A COMMUNITY is celebrating after proposals to build a 13 metre-high telephone mast near their homes were rejected.

Mobile network giant Vodafone had hoped that it would be allowed to construct the pole in Fatfield Road, Washington, and help their customers to receive a better signal more often.

However, people living in the nearby Oliver Street area – with the backing of councillors – raised concerns about the mast not being suitable to be built where they live.

And their objections proved successful as Sunderland City Council has decided to reject the planning application.

Washington Central Councillor Diane Snowdon said: “As a mobile phone user I appreciate that we need mobile phone masts, but I did not agree with the proposed site mast in Fatfield Road.

“This mast was too close to houses and I did not feel that the applicant had demonstrated that all other sites had been ruled out.

“I am pleased that the views of local residents have been taken into account and this application has been refused.”

Her colleague, Coun Len Lauchlan, added: “I am very pleased that the resident’s views have been listened to and taken into account and permission has been refused.”

The planning application wanted approval for “installation of new 13.8 metre high dual-user streetworks monopole, to support six 3G antennas, two ground based equipment cabinets and ancillary development.”

The application was refused was because it was deemed “unduly obtrusive and injurious to the visual amenity of the area and neighbouring residents.”

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: “We are disappointed that the local planning authority decided to refuse the application, and as with all refusals we made a thorough review of the reasons for refusal and the potential alternatives available.

“In this case we will not be pursuing an appeal, and will look for other potential sites for a base station in the local area.

“We recognise that some communities are concerned regarding the deployment of radio base stations close to residential areas, but without radio base stations, mobile phones will not be able to work.”