North Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee has for the second time blocked an application to build a new phone mast at Motherwell FC’s home ground.
Wireless Infrastructure Group sought approval for a 40-metre-high mast at Fir Park, having had an application to build a 45-metre mast rejected a year earlier.
Despite this, the second application attracted considerable opposition locally, with the council receiving 41 objections.
However, the council’s planning officers did recommend granting the application subject to conditions, on the basis it would have less impact on the area than the previous application and was compliant with local policy.
A section of the planning report reads: “Despite the many objections from the local community, a determination by the council to approve the development would accord with the development plan and, in terms of Section 25 of the Act, there are no material considerations to indicate that the decision should be different.
“It is therefore, recommended that planning permission be granted.”
Objectors cited several reasons for their concerns, including visual impact especially due to the height of the proposed mast, that it did not need to be in that location, concerns over noise and radiation, the proximity of the site to sensitive locations such as schools, danger to low level aircraft and loss of privacy.
Councillor David Robb (SNP, Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig) reminded the committee that this application had been refused a year previously.
“The application is a slightly amended version of the previous one in which the applicant states the height of the tower has been reduced to 40 metres. However, in their own technical reports when the addition of the antenna is taken into account the total height is actually 40.9 metres above ground level.
“This mast, at 40.9 metres with the antenna attached, will be higher than both the stands, the main stand and the south stands, in the stadium and it would be considerably higher than the stadium’s floodlighting structures which currently house the existing antenna.
“It suggests that the tower will significantly dominate the surrounding residential environment.”
Councillor Robb also expressed concern that the applicant may have tried to push the application through and noted that more than 40 valid objections had been received in relation to this proposal.
He said the mast would be detrimental to local amenity due to its height, location and local concerns, adding that two schools are in the site’s immediate vicinity.
Moving for the application to be rejected, councillor Robb added that residents had said “loudly, clearly and for the second time now” that they did not want this tower in their community and that all councillors representing the ward were in agreement.
This amendment would be seconded by councillor Greg Lennon (SNP, Gartcosh, Glenboig and Moodiesburn).
Councillor Adam Smith (SNP, Cumbernauld East) requested confirmation that the only change to the application was a reduction in height by five metres and was advised that this was true.
The committee voted unanimously to accept the amendment, meaning planning permission was refused.