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Objections to 'eyesore' Paignton phone mast

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 1:24pm

By Ed Oldfield, Local Democracy Reporting Service

The current mobile phone equipment in Goodrington Road, Paignton (Image: Google Maps)

A holiday park is concerned it may put off visitors

Planners have delayed a decision on a replacement mobile phone mast for the new 5G network at the entrance to a holiday park at Paignton.

Beverley Holidays objected to the site in Goodrington Road and feared the “eyesore” 20m mast would put off visitors.

A director also raised concerns that it could deter holidaymakers concerned about the possible health effects.

Members of Torbay Council’s planning committee voted to defer a decision to allow time for negotiations with the developer to see if they could agree another site.

The application on behalf of EE and Three is to replace a 13.5m pole with one 20m high and to install six replacement cabinets. 

There were 29 objections to the application which meant it was referred to the committee for a decision.

Councillors were told that under planning law they were not able to consider the health issues, which were governed by national policy.

But councillors were advised that they could consider the issue that perceived health concerns about the mast could damage the holiday park business.

The developer had supplied a certificate that the equipment would operate within internationally-agreed guidelines on public exposure.

Claire Flower, director of Beverley Holidays, spoke at the meeting to object to the site of the mast and base station on the pavement at the entrance to Beverley Park.

She said the “overpowering” visual impact was “totally unacceptable” and would be an “eyesore” for visitors.

She said the family-run business had been part of the local tourism economy for 60 years, and there were concerns the presence of the “imposing” larger mast and equipment could deter holidaymakers.

The park with 500 units of holiday accommodation had up to 2,000 visitors at peak periods, including many families with young children, with the closest unit 3m from the proposed equipment site.

There was a fear that the visual impact of the mast along with concerns over the health impact could lead to a loss of customers which would damage the business, leading to a potential reduction in jobs.

She said the business had not been consulted by the developer and they wanted to discuss other potential sites for the equipment on or near the holiday park.

Independent councillor Celia Brown said there was a perception of health concerns which could harm the holiday park business.

Nick Bye proposed deferring a decision for negotiations with the applicant to seek a different site. 

He said he was concerned about the visual impact of the equipment and perception of families with young children about the health effects.

The committee voted in favour of deferral. Councillors were told it would also give time to sort out a technicality with the documentation and to discuss a condition setting out a time-scale for removing the current equipment.

Campaigners have raised concerns about the potential impact on human health of the higher frequency radio waves used by the 5G mobile phone network, which is being introduced across the country. 

The Government’s adviser Public Health England says health effects are “unlikely” at exposure to levels below international guidelines used by the industry.

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