Campaigners lose phone mast battle

Lynn Heywood and Eddie Bradley
Lynn Heywood and Eddie Bradley
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COUNCILLORS have approved a phone mast despite health concerns and letters of objection from neighbours.

Lynn Heywood is worried the 10m-high mast, which is right next to her father’s home in Highbury Road West, St Annes, will cause him health problems and devalue the property.

She wrote a letter of complaint to Fylde Council – while other local residents wrote and submitted a petition -–but has been left furious after feeling her concerns were ignored.

Concerns

The council’s planning committee approved the mast on Wednesday after stating they were not allowed to consider health concerns – only the site and design of the mast.

Mrs Heywood, whose elderly father has lived in the house for 60 years, said: “I wonder what the planning department is there for.

“They are not concerned with health or devaluing property.

“The mast will be right up against my father’s boundary fence. They couldn’t have got it any nearer my dad’s if they had put it in his garden.”

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The application from Cornerstone – who erect masts on behalf of Vodafone and O2 – was recommended for approval by the planning officers, and Coun Nigel Goodrich said: “If we’re happy with the siting and location we are severely restricted in what we can do.”

Phone masts such as this are classed as “permitted development” meaning they’re allowed under planning law if the location is suitable.

The committee’s chairman, Coun Ben Aitken, told Mrs Heywood: “We don’t do things lightly, people are sitting here deciding and we have to take into consideration what the officers say to us.

“I’m sorry if it’s upset you.”

Residents cannot appeal when planning decisions go against them.

Coun Karen Buckley, ward councillor for the area, added: “I share the residents’ disappointment because of where this mast will be sited.

“It’s very, very close to that row of houses but I understand the hands of the planning committee were tied because of the regulations.”

Cornerstone has stressed without its masts mobile phones will not work, and said they are all built and operated in accordance with strict guidelines.

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