Vodaphone and 02 mast appeal fears

THERE have been calls for a public enquiry into a controversial phone mast that was knocked-back TWICE by the council.

Vodaphone and O2 are appealing to the Scottish Government, hoping they will support plans to install a shared mast at the junction of Nithsdale Crescent and Abbotsford Road in Bearsden.

But Councillor Amanda Stewart, who was instrumental in the last two proposals being rejected, said there was a real fear the appeal will be successful.

She said: “The council’s planning board refused two applications on this site and I would appeal to Vodaphone and O2 to withdraw their appeal and look for a more appropriate site. The Scottish Government’s track record seems to be in favour of overturning planning decisions on appeal.”

The Bearsden North councillor said that if the phone giant persisted in trying to get a mast situated in an area that is clearly not wanted by the residents, the Scottish Government reporter should hold a public enquiry and make a site visit.

She added: “If they do this they will see how inappropriate the site actually is. It is in a very built-up area less than 250 metres from Castlehill Primary and nursery school and not much further from St Andrew’s Primary.”

Sandra MacMartin (66), from Abbotsford Road, blasted: “I just think it is ridiculous to put a phone mast so close to a school. It will also be next to a block of flats. Some of the residents will be at eye level with the receiver.”

The phone operators were refused permission at a planning meeting in February last year to erect a 17.5 metre mast. They came back with plans for a slightly smaller 14.8 metre structure but this was also rejected at a meeting in December.

A spokesperson for Cornerstone, who work on behalf of the mobile phone companies, said: “Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel.

“We have identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Bearsden and have proposed a shared base station at the junction of Abbotsford Road and Nithsdale Crescent. We were disappointed that the local planning authority refused the application and as with all refusals, made a thorough review of the reasons for refusal and the potential alternatives available. it was decided that this was the best site to provide coverage for our customers and we decided to appeal the local planning authority decision.”