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Proposal for Burrator mast resisted by councillors
United Kingdom Created: 27 Jul 2019
A PROPOSAL to install a telecommunications base station at Burrator Dam with a 12-metre tall mast and an equipment compound by the roadside is being resisted by parish councillors.

Mobile network operator EE is seeking to build the base station to provide 4G phone and data coverage for the police, fire and ambulance emergency services at Burrator.

But at a site meeting last week, Burrator parish councillors were surprised to learn the network would be limited to the perimeter road around Burrator lake and would not penetrate onto the moors and could not reach surrounding hills and tors.

One of the parish councillors who attended the site meeting with EE and its planning agents Savills of Dorset Cllr Keith Scrivener said: ‘The question is do we support what is quite a sizeable, industrial-looking mast and compound at this sensitive beauty spot just to provide 4G coverage around the lake?

‘We could end up with something like a mini North Hessary tower with a fenced-off base station at the bottom which would look very intrusive and which could be viewed from miles across the Burrator landscape.’

Other councillors shared the view that the proposal for the site seemed heavy-handed and those who attended the site meeting urged EE to consider a less obtrusive location in the area where the equipment might be hidden from public view with reduced impact on the skyline.

Parish council vice chair Cllr Andy Paskins said: ‘The proposed solution looks like a standard solution that fits all and takes little account of the sensitivity of the particular location.’

Cllr Mark Brunsdon urged the mobile network operator to take a more balanced view, saying: ‘While the location by the dam may offer the best network coverage, other less sensitive locations around the reservoir may offer suitable alternatives.’

The proposal near the dam would involve digging out some rocks and earth close to the antiquated granite water trough on the slope of Yennadon Down to create space for the roadside compound.

The technical network equipment required would be surrounded by a fenced-off compound with a granite retaining wall at the back.

Eventually, once up and running, the installation would be capable of providing commercial 4G coverage for EE customers.

EE has said it will consider the parish council’s suggestions of alternative sites and would report back with its findings before putting forward any planning application to Dartmoor National Park Authority.

An EE spokesman also said they welcomed the views of other local stakeholders and the public.

‘We appreciate this is a sensitive and beautiful area and we welcome more input from others,’ he said.

A more simple plan approved last year to provide 4G coverage at Burrator by installing antennas to an existing BT telegraph pole near the dam has since been aborted, parish councillors were told.
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Source: Tavistock Times Gazette, Alison Stephenson, 26 Jul 2019

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