St Albans councillor's anger over phone mast decision

PUBLISHED: 20:01 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 06 May 2010

A WAR of words has broken out after a government inspector gave the go-ahead for a new phone mast on a sensitive site in St Albans. Orange has been given planning permission to install the eight-metre high column and equipment cabinet on the corner of San

A WAR of words has broken out after a government inspector gave the go-ahead for a new phone mast on a sensitive site in St Albans.

Orange has been given planning permission to install the eight-metre high column and equipment cabinet on the corner of Sandpit Lane and Gurney Court Road - land owned by Herts county council.

Cllr Chris Brazier, planning portfolio holder for the district council, said last week that the Cabinet has always supported local residents in their opposition to the application, claiming that squeezing a telecom mast into such a small space would be "detrimental to the surroundings."

But Labour Group Leader Cllr Roma Mills, who has spoken at a number of meetings on behalf of Gurney Court Road campaigners, believes that the Planning Inspectorate's decision was the result of "years of inaction" by both the district and county council over the issue of telecom masts..

She said: "As well as rejecting the possibility of it being put up on a non-residential site such as in Clarence Park, the district council also failed to follow up on a decision to introduce a policy similar to that in Milton Keynes, where phone masts are not permitted on council land within 50 metres of residential properties."

But Cllr Brazier said that the Cabinet has done everything in its power to block Orange's application: "Contrary to Cllr Mills accusation, I did talk to Orange about the possibility of Clarence Park as a potential site for the mast but the suggestion was refused because it wouldn't have provided enough coverage at that location."

He added: "As for Milton Keynes, they're a unitary authority and it's therefore solely up to them what goes on their land. The district council, which operates under the same policy that Milton Keynes does, tried in vain to persuade the county council to adopt similar regulations.

"There was quite simply nothing more that we could do to prevent the application from being accepted.

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