ISSUE: Phone Masts

Four phone masts refused

Councillors have turned down applications for four mobile phone masts in Wimbledon Parkside.

At the meeting on March 19th the planning committee was considering applications from phone giants Orange to site masts in Inner Park Road, Keevil Drive and Victoria Drive. The masts are all designed to look like lamp columns.

Government guidance states that councillors should not reject schemes on health grounds - they should only consider siting and design issues.

The committee refused the mast planned for Inner Park Road next to St Paul's Church on the grounds that it would spoil the views of this Grade 2* listed building. The installation had been opposed by 93 local residents backed by a petition containing a further 24 names.

They also turned down one in Keevil Drive at the junction with Princes Way. This would be positioned on a narrow pavement and would obstruct pedestrians particularly those with prams or wheelchair users.

Two other masts - outside the Jenny Lind pub in Inner Park Road and at the junction of Victoria Drive and Windlesham Grove - were also turned down for similar reasons.

The committee was told that more than three quarters of all appeal decisions nationally since January 2000 had gone in favour of the mobile phone companies. The figure of 76 per cent compares with an average rate for decisions overturned on appeal of 40 per cent. Of the 108 appeals dismissed only 7 were ruled out on health grounds.

Residents in Putney await the decision by the committee for the proposed masts for Orange on the Upper Richmond Rd - they can but hope that this will also be turned down.

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