People people thwarts mast plans

Michael Myers, left, and other local shopkeepers and residents celebrate with their with their objection letters after defeating plans to site a mobile telephone mast right in front of the shops on Walmesley Road, Eccleston, St Helens
Michael Myers, left, and other local shopkeepers and residents celebrate with their with their objection letters after defeating plans to site a mobile telephone mast right in front of the shops on Walmesley Road, Eccleston, St Helens
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CONTROVERSIAL plans to install a 12-metre high phone mast outside a parade of shops were knocked back by planners after angry residents collected hundreds of letters of objection.

A joint plan had been put forward by mobile phone giants Vodafone and O2 to install a 12-metre tall mast outside shops on Walmesley Road, Eccleston - as well as two associated base station boxes.

But St Helens Council’s planning committee knocked back the proposal last Tuesday (November 1) on the grounds that the development was “inappropriate for the area”.

Michael Myers, who runs the Village Home and Garden store on Walmesley Road, was among the hundreds of local residents to object to the plan.

He told the Reporter: “We collected 288 objection letters against this proposal in the shop alone and one of our customers handed in a 100-name petition too.

“Not only would this mast have been incredibly unsightly, it would have blocked the view from our windows. In fact, it would have been about three times the height of our shop!

“The first sniff we got of the proposal was when some workmen started marking the pavement and digging up the road to check the depth of the cables.

“But we’ve had fantastic support from the local community in our campaign against this development ever since.”

Mr Myers added: “An awful lot of people were concerned about the possible health implications too. What’s worrying is that nobody is ever able to tell you that phone masts like this one are 100 per cent safe.”

A spokeswoman for Vodafone and O2 said: “Vodafone and O2 identified that we needed to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Eccleston and proposed a shared base station at Walmesley Road.

“Base stations are low powered devices which only cover approximately half a mile in radius and therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“We were disappointed that the local planning authority refused the application, and will now make a thorough review of the reasons for refusal and the potential alternatives available.”