ISSUE: Second phone mast blow for Putney

Government grant permission in the face of opposition from local people.

The council's planning committee had turned down the T-Mobile application to erect three masts on the roof of the Spencer Arms public house in December 2005.

The proposal had attracted 180 objections from local residents concerned about the health risk, and the impact of the new structures on the Putney Lower Common conservation area.

But government planning inspector Robin Brooks ruled this week that the company could go ahead. He said the proposal was modest and inconspicuous and, contrary to the council's view, would preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area.

He added that he had taken into account the concerns of residents about the long-term effects of electro-magnetic fields. But, because the proposals would meet international limits on radiation protection, he was bound by government guidance to approve them.

He concluded by saying the proposals would blend readily into the street scene and would therefore 'not be intrusive in a way that might engender fears or anxieties about health.'

Planning applications committee chairman Leslie McDonnell said the decision was a blow to local residents:

"Once again local people can see how the Government had loaded the dice in favour of the telecommunications industry. The fact that the equipment will, the inspector says, not be intrusive will do nothing to allay residents fears."

Cllr McDonnell repeated calls for the Government to launch a nationwide public information exercise on the health risks associated with mobile phone masts.

Last week a different government inspector overturned the planning applications committee's decision to refuse permission for a mast in Upper Richmond Road close to Fairdale Gardens. He also said he was unable to intervene on health grounds.

You can view the Spencer Arms decision

November 21, 2006


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