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Anger as mast is ‘plonked’ on Wyke Regis road
United Kingdom Created: 27 Sep 2011
ANGRY residents have hit out at a mobile phone mast being “plonked” outside their homes.

Councillors have said they were powerless to stop the telecommunications mast at the junction of Portland Road and Dumbarton Road in Wyke Regis being erected.

Communication giants Vodaphone and O2 will share the mast under the Cornerstone project title to increase their provision of third generation (3G) phone coverage in the area.

The council could not stop the mast being built as it is a “permitted development’ under prior approval planning regulations because it is less than 15 metres high.

The regulations state full planning permission was not required and only the location and the design of the mast, not the health implications, could be considered for refusing planning permission.

A Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman said prior approval was not opposed for the mast due to the planning inspectorate’s lack of support in these cases.

She used Cornerstone’s recent successful appeal against the council’s decision to build a mast on the junction of Lydwell Close and Buxton Road as an example.

Wyke Regis borough councillor Kate Wheller said the council felt useless in these cases.

She said: “When you think the council voted against it and yet it’s still going ahead what can we do. We are working with one hand tied behind our backs all the time.”

Parents have expressed concerns over the long term health implications of the 12.5 metre mast which was erected on Tuesday, September 20.

The mast is in the middle of what residents describe as a family orientated estate.

Hayley Grant’s garden on nearby Derwent Road is just 45 metres from the mast.

The 33-year-old mother of two said: “It was just shock when I saw it. We were not given any warning; we had nothing through the post saying this is what it is or the size of it.

“I want it moved, there’s no need for it to be there when there’s space down by the sea. I don’t think any planning has gone into it because of where they have just plonked it here.”

Neighbour Chantal Smith, 34, said: “It looks like a factory chimney. I’m very angry because at the end of the day nobody knows the long-term effects with health issues.”

The mother of four added: “Does it really have to go there when in the surrounding area there’s hundreds of children and adults living?”

Cornerstone spokesman Dr Rob Matthews said the mast adhered to strict guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.

He added they were not legally obliged to consult residents and had not received no feedback from ward councillors or MPs.
Base station blends in with area’s lampposts

Cornerstone spokesman Dr Rob Matthews said WPBC had failed to give its agents a valid planning decision within 56 days, as set out in planning legislation, so permission was automatically granted for the development.

Prior to submitting the planning application they wrote to ward councillors and the local MP but did not receive any feedback, he said.

Cornerstone selected the site ahead of five alternatives because existing lampposts and poles helped it blend in with the surrounding area.

Dr Matthews said: “Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel. Base stations are low powered which only cover approximately half a mile in radius and therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“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. “All of our base stations are designed, built and operated in accordance with stringent international guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.”
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Source: Dorset Echo, By Paul Crompton, 27 Sep 2011

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