Radio mast gets the go-ahead

PLANS to erect a 22-metre telecopic mast at a Hepscott home have been approved, despite opposition from neighbours.

Chris Callicot, of Clare House in Fieldhouse Lane, applied to Northumberland County Council to put the retractable mast and antennas on his property for amateur radio communications.

But the size of the mast — 22m when it is fully extended — its effect and impact on neighbouring properties and concerns that it could be hazardous to wildlife caused letters of objection from residents and Hepscott Parish Council.

At last week’s Area Planning Committee North, John Lewis from Hepscott Parish Council said: “The installation of a radio mast of this size with large antenna will be completely alien to the character of the residential area in this historic corner of Hepscott Village.

“A domestic garden is not the place for such a massive structure. At 22m high it is more appropriate for a commercial enterprise.”

David Cowans, of The Pines, said: “It would spoil the image of the area and that of nearby buildings and gardens.”

Another objector said the mast had no adequate screening to the south of the site and raised concerns about its impact on bats, birds and red squirrels.

But applicant Dr Callicott said the that the mast would have a ‘minimal’ impact on his neighbours. He added that it would only be extended to around 12m most of the time, reaching its full extension on rare occasions.

Coun Gordon Castle opposed the application. He said: “I’m really sorry to disappoint the proposer, but there is only one aspect of the application that concerns me.

“When the local parish council and residents object in this number I think how would I feel myself and how would it affect me? And I would be saying what they have been saying.”

The mast was approved for a temporary one-year period to assess its impact, after an amendment.