Council admits its 'hands are tied' over spread of masts across Blackpool

Mobile phone masts going up around Blackpool have been labelled "grotesque" with some attracting graffiti and being used for advertising.

By Shelagh Parkinson
Friday, 24th June 2022, 3:06 pm

Now town hall leaders are set to take what action they can, although a full meeting of the council was told the authority's "hands were tied" when it came to granting planning permission for the developments.

Last summer there were at least 11 submissions made to the council to install masts ranging in height from 12 metres to 20 metres with cabinets housing equipment at their base.

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A mobile phone mast being installed on Whitegate Drive

The equipment, which is part of a national government drive to boost advanced 5G mobile phone and internet coverage, has since started to appear in various streets around the resort including Park Road and Anchorsholme Lane East.

Coun Tony Williams, who represents Anchorsholme, told the council meeting the masts represented old technology compared to underground fibre technology currently being installed in Blackpool.

He said: "The fibre technology will be in BT ducting and will be invisible compared to these grotesque cabinets we have seen.

"They have graffiti on them and are very unsightly, and I would ask if there is any breach on street advertising."

Coun Tony Williams

Council leader Coun Lynn Williams said permitted development rights meant the council's "hands are tied".

But she added: "I agree it is outdated technology but this needs to come from national government.

"We are looking at this issue of unsightly advertising and there are ongoing discussions involving our highways department."

Planners have been able to block some applications for masts, with a bid for a 15 metre tall mast on land earmarked for the £300m Blackpool Central development thrown out earlier this year.

The scheme, for a site on the corner of New Bonny Street and Central Drive, was judged to damage the setting of the proposed tourist attraction.