Sticklepath phone mast victory

PEOPLE power has won the day in a battle against the installation of a mobile phone mast in Barnstaple. In February this year, Sticklepath Hill residents rallied to oppose plans to erect a 40ft communication mast on the roadside verge by High Wall and in

PEOPLE power has won the day in a battle against the installation of a mobile phone mast in Barnstaple.

In February this year, Sticklepath Hill residents rallied to oppose plans to erect a 40ft communication mast on the roadside verge by High Wall and in front of their bedroom windows.

At the time, the Gazette reported how phone operator Vodafone had appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after North Devon Council planners refused permission and issued a "stop work" notice for the scheme, designed to replace an existing mast at North Devon College.

But a decision by inspector Christopher Jarvis has ruled in favour of the council - dismissing the appeal and upholding the council's enforcement notice to remove the partially-constructed concrete base, pole mounting to support a mobile phone antenna, and equipment cabinets.


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The inspector, who visited the site in April this year, objected to the mast development because of its visual impact and its effect on the living conditions of nearby residents at High Wall.

He said: "This is not an appropriate site for the mast in my judgement unless there is no suitable alternative site that allows Vodafone to meet its public service commitments.

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"It does not seem unlikely that an alternative site can be found so the development conflicts with the Development Plan."

Mr Jarvis has given Vodafone six months to remove the partly built mast to allow for alternative sites to be investigated.

North Devon Council leader, Des Brailey, said that people power had triumphed in the end.

He said: "Vodafone were in the middle of negotiations with us when they suddenly decided to put this thing up without permission.

"I'm sure lots of people will be very pleased that this appeal has been turned down; many saw the story in the Gazette and wrote letters of objection to our planning officers whom I would also like to thank for their robust stance in preparation for this appeal.

"With the college remaining in situ for the time being, the pressure of moving the mast has now been lessened. Perhaps we can use the time to negotiate with Vodafone to find a more suitable place to relocate the mast

A Vodafone spokesman said the company was disappointed by the inspector's decision, which it was reviewing before deciding its next course of action.

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