Councillors have rejected proposals to build a 50ft tall phone mast between a home and shop on a street in West Lothian.
The application to build a 5G telecoms mast from company CK Hutchison Networks UK on South Street in Armadale was met with objections from local residents.
Local councillor Stuart Borrowman told the Development Management Committee that the three storey tall mast “should not be plonked in front of somebody’s house.”
The committee heard that CK Hutchison Networks UK didn’t need planning permission to install the mast and associated cabinets because mast installation has been permitted development since the early 1990s.
The plan was revised, shortening the height of the mast from 52ft and moving it away from the driveway of the house closer to the shop, which is a disused hairdressers.
A report to the committee said that the mast was compliant with government regulations on radio frequency public exposure guidelines. The mast and cabinets could also be easily accommodated on the wide pavement.
However objections from the neighbours were supported by Councillor Borrowman.
Resident Jim McCulloch told the committee that South Street provided access to local schools and churches and was busy with pedestrians .
He suggested that the mast would be visually intrusive to his property and would affect the potential sale of his home, adding: “Every time we look out of our front window or drive into our driveway we are going to see this mast.”
He questioned why the mast needed to be on the street at all, and suggested a number of alternative sites for the proposed mast to the committee.
Councillor Borrowman said: “This is one of these cases where I thought: ‘Really?’ This is an extraordinary proposal in an extraordinary location. I was dismayed that the planning department assessed this as not having an effect on residential amenity. I really feel it has a significant effect of detrimental amenity in that part of South Street.
“I really feel it’s not an appropriate place. Mr McCulloch did us a favour by listing a number of alternatives. This is just the wrong place. It’s a necessary piece of infrastructure, but not plonked in front of somebody’s house.”
He was backed by Councillor Pauline Clark who said councillors should not be expected to support the siting of big masts in front of people’s homes.
Councillor George Paul added: “It may be the right mast for its purpose but I definitely think it has been sited in the wrong place and I definitely think an alternative place should be found for it. Not in front of somebody’s house.”
Chairing the committee, Councillor Charles Kennedy agreed there would be a serious impact and loss of amenity and another alternative site should be found.
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