Controversial A1 phone mast refused

COUNCILLORS have turned down plans for a mobile phone mast on the side of the A1 near Stannington.

Telefonica O2 applied to erect the 23metre-high telecommunications structure on land west of the petrol station at Stannington Station, which caused concern among nearby residents.

As well as the visual and potential health impact, they were worried that it would hamper potential future development to the north of the site.

Planning officers recommended approval for the scheme but at last Thursday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee, members were urged by Karen Carins – speaking on behalf of Stannington Parish Council and Stannington Station Residents’ Association – and resident Donald Williams to reject it.

“When the notice arrived I was staggered that no one else seemed to know about it,” said Mr Williams.

“Who are you to play God with our lives?

“One way or another this will have a detrimental effect on us all and the value of our properties.”

Coun Trevor Thorne said: “I feel this is the wrong location, it’s a very prominent location, it’s going to be right in your face.”

He added that it was also quite close to the community in Station Road.

Coun Dougie Watkin said that compared to the mast at Eshott, this scheme was ‘nothing’.

But Coun Gordon Castle said: “Simply because there’s a worse feature elsewhere, that’s not a reason to perpetuate the problem.”

The committee voted seven against, one in favour and there were two abstentions. The reason given was that the proposed mast is in an inappropriate location and would provide a negative visual impact for residents.

After the meeting, Coun Carins said: “We’re over the moon and very relieved that the committee has backed what we were saying.

“We have received numerous emails from residents who are delighted with the decision.

“We’re very grateful to Coun Castle and Coun Thorne, who spoke eloquently as to why they were against a mobile phone mast being placed on that site.

“Hopefully, this will mean that a useful development will come forward for this land in the next few years.”