I TAKE this opportunity to show my delight that a recent planning application to erect a 12.5 metre high telecommunications tower and associated cabinets on land west of Links Avenue playing fields, Cullercoats, has been rejected.
Being newly elected and due to certain timescales involved in the planning process, I was not able to put forward my own feelings on the application and I take this opportunity to do so now.
There are four main reasons why I objected to the application:
1. Visual Aspect: The proposed mast would have towered above the surrounding low level developments and be visible from all angles and aspects, sticking out as an eyesore and spoiling the locality.
The mast would have therefore adversely affected the amenity of the locality.
2. Site close to residential housing and public areas: The proximity of the development to residential property and the local playing fields would have been invasive and intrusive.
I believe that to site a mast of this size and design so close to residential property would be in breach of Article 8 (1) of the European Convention of Human Rights which provides the right to respect for private and family life, the home and possessions, and Article 8 (2) which states that there shall be no unnecessary interference by a public authority with that right.
3. Siting and External Appearance: Policy E11 of North Tyneside Council’s Unitary Development Plan (UDP) states that the local planning authority in respect to telecommunication developments will “...discourage obtrusive siting of such developments in or close to residential areas”.
The proposed development would, by reason of its own size and siting, appear obtrusive and dominating.
With current and expected future concerns on mobile phone mast safety, private property values are predicted to fall by as much as 25 per cent in areas where masts are erected in or near to residential properties.
I acknowledge that this is not a material planning consideration, however, the loss of property value would quite clearly have a very adverse effect on the amenity of the area and the well-being of its residents, and I feel that these aspects would have been material considerations.
4. Precautionary Approach/Amenity: I feel that the residents’ well-being would have been a valid planning consideration.
I am particularly concerned and fearful about the potential risks to health, whether perceived or real.
I understand that current research on this matter is still ongoing and that in the past it has merely concentrated on the effects of skin tissue heating from microwave emitting antenna.
There is, however, a large body of scientific research that now challenges this view with regard to other possible symptoms, such as increased cancer risk, sterility, effects on heart pacemakers etc, as well as the biological affects that have had a limited degree of research, the results of which point out to potential adverse effects.
With this precautionary approach in mind, I would point out that several schools are within 1km radius; plus the proposed new Sainsbury’s store in The Broadway and a petrol station in Beach Road; plus a very well used children’s play park in Links Road, and most importantly, the green open space used by the local community, not to mention the fear that would have been felt by parents with regard to possible adverse health risks posed to their children.
In conclusion, I feel residents’ quality of life would have been compromised by the installation of this mast.
If I am notified of any appeal by the applicant to the Planning Inspectorate the local community and I shall work together to try to ensure this application is rejected for good.
COUN GEORGE C WESTWATER