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Neighbours force phone firm to call off mast job
Scotland Created: 6 Jul 2011
MORNINGSIDE residents have brought work on a mobile phone mast to a halt by blocking construction traffic from driving over their land.

Greenbank Village householders awoke to find massive steel tracks being laid over communal garden land running into a nearby field, where a "temporary" 50ft mast is set to be erected.

When contractors yesterday attemped to take materials over the 300ft steel path, they were thwarted by a group who are angry that they had not been informed about either the installation of the mast or the use of their land.

The residents initially blocked the path of the trucks with furniture before contractors agreed to halt work.

The land off Rattray Grove, on which the mast is being sited, is owned by a third party. However, the route contractors need to use to gain access to it belongs to local residents.

James Duncan, 72, a retired off-shore oil engineer, said: "In my view this is a significant lack of consideration for the people who live here. This is land owned by the residents and we should have been told what is happening here, and would have had to give their permission to lay all these steel tracks down on our flowerbeds."

Vivianne McCann, 71, a retired dental receptionist, added: "The metal planks that have been laid everywhere are ruining the grass and flowers on our land.

"We were guaranteed that this land wouldn't see any development when we bought our houses. This looks like development to me."

Greenbank Village has been built on the site of the former City Hospital, and its red brick pavillions are now part of the housing development. The mast planned by Orange, which will have a 20-metre cage around it, is believed to be on the site of a former cricket ground.

Jane Ulke, 52, a marketing and public affairs consultant, said: "There is a lot of history that goes with this area, the people who attended the hospital, were treated here, played cricket here.

There should have been more consideration before someone decided to build a mobile phone mast here.

"We're not just being nimbys, this track is crushing the grass and flowers on our property, without permission, and then further afield, on the land we don't own, it's ruining this popular green where people walk their dogs and children play."

Lee Anstey of contractors Clarke Communications, which has been brought in to install the mast for Orange and was on the site yesterday, said: "From what we've been told, Orange have planning permission to establish the mast, but they may have forgotten to ask permission from the local residents to get to the site, but that is still being determined.

"We've stopped work for now while they check it out and we do appreciate where the people here are coming from."

An Orange spokeswoman said the firm always ensured that all necessary planning consent was in place.

"The mast was a temporary measure designed to ensure that our customers continued to receive the best network coverage possible, whilst we looked for a more permanent place to position the mast.

"We are aware of the incident that took place today in Rattray Grove and we are conducting our own investigation into this."
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Source: Scotsman, RORY REYNOLDS, 06 Jul 2011

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