'Eyesore' phone mast has to go, inspector rules
PEOPLE living in the shadow of a huge phone mast in Alvaston are optimistic it will now be taken down after a planning appeal ruled in their favour.
The mobile phone company Orange put up the 20-metre mast on a grass verge in Elvaston Lane in March, last year, using "emergency" planning rules. These allowed it to stay for six months without formal planning consent.
Derby City Council agreed that use of these powers was valid as the equipment was intended to replace a mast on Yarmouth House, which was scheduled to be demolished.
This was disputed by people living in the area, who described it as an eyesore.
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When the company tried to extend the mast's stay to three years, the city council rejected its application but Everything Everywhere, or EE, which acts on behalf of Orange, appealed.
Now planning inspector Victoria Lucas-Gosnold has upheld the council decision, delighting residents.
Her report says the development was "by reason of its height and appearance, unduly prominent and overbearing on the street scene and out of character with nearby properties and the surrounding area".
It adds: "Even for a temporary period of three years, the effect on the character and appearance of the area would still be substantial and unacceptable. While the planning officer may have recommended approval of the initial planning application, councils are not bound to accept the recommendations of their officers."
Campaign group Roam – Remove Orange's Alvaston Mast – has been protesting against the mast since it was first put up. Member David Gale said it was "cautiously optimistic" that the inspector's findings would lead to the mast's removal.
He said: "We are aware that Everything Everywhere has recourse to one further appeal in the High Court. The concern is that the firm will now play for time."
Mr Gale said better sites for such a mast included the area around Alvaston's new Blue Jay pub.He added: "It's simply an eyesore, dwarfing the height of lamp-posts in the area. There are listed buildings within 100 metres. It's completely inappropriate."
Mr Gale said the council must now be pressurised to enforce planning law and have the mast removed.
A council spokeswoman said no enforcement notice for the mast to be removed had yet been issued.
She said: "There's no time scale for it to be taken down as yet. We will be speaking to Everything Everywhere to find out what their latest intentions are."
No-one at Everything Everywhere was available yesterday to say whether or not it would challenge the decision.
Paul Clarke, head of development management at the city council, said previously the authority did nothing wrong in allowing the mast to be put up. He added planning rules permitted the mast to be put up for six months to allow the demolition of Yarmouth House, which was knocked down over the summer.