Residents at Hillington in Ilfracombe are dismayed at news permission has been granted for a 40 foot telecommunications installation near their homes

Residents say the telecommunications installation will be visible right across the valley. Picture: Sandra DaviesResidents say the telecommunications installation will be visible right across the valley. Picture: Sandra Davies

Residents at Hillington in Ilfracombe are upset after permission was granted for a 40 foot communications mast outside their homes.

Telefonica UK has received permission to site the ‘base station’ installation on the grass verge at the junction between Slade Road and Hillington – but residents say there were other sites available.

Ilfracombe Town Council recommended refusal, saying it would ‘have a dominant and overbearing effect on the neighbouring property and that more appropriate sites should be revisited and fully explored’.

Sandra Davies, whose 87-year-old mother lives closest to the site, said Pall Europe and TDK Lambda were also considered but accused the communications company of ‘going for the easiest option’.

She said: “It’s 40 foot high and will be just the other side of my mother’s garden fence. It’s just going to be a total blot on the landscape.

“For some reason they have picked this site – it’s an easy option, I think. My mother is a nervous wreck about it – her garden is a pretty little garden and this thing is going to be just over the fence.

“We live in an area of natural beauty and they want to put this thing up, the world has gone mad.

“I know we have got to move with the times and we need better mobile reception but Ilfracombe is surrounded by hills, why has this got to be in someone’s back garden?”

In a letter to North Devon Council, Helen Marin wrote: ‘To have a 12 metre mast alongside us, without knowing the noise levels or health threats is quite frankly appalling.

“We also believe this could be quite detrimental to the value of our properties. It would be quite interesting to have a before and after valuation. I for one would not buy a property with a 12m mast right next door. The visual impact on what is a beautiful almost semi-rural area of outstanding beauty would be a shame’.

The Gazette has approached Telefonica for a comment.

The application was passed as a ‘delegated decision’ meaning it was decided by planning officers and not at committee level.