Cameron claims a victory for Newcastle community

An Bord Pleanála’s refusal to grant planning permission to Meteor to retain mobile phone masts on a house in Newcastle has been hailed as a “major victory for the Newcastle community” by Labour Cllr Billy Cameron.

ABP has refused to grant planning permission to Meteor Mobile Communications Ltd for retention of three antennae and one telecommunications dish at 16 Upper Newcastle.

The mast was erected by Meteor in November 2006, but according to Cllr Cameron, this was done without planning permission. Local residents brought it to his attention in August 2007 and the Labour man recognised that legislation forbids masts being erected on private dwellings or on a residential apartment complex.

Meteor were in the process of seeking retention but City Hall’s Director of Planning Thomas Connell had issued an Enforcement Order, ordering the company to remove the mast or court proceedings would follow if there was non-compliance.

Meteor appealed to An Bord Pleanála for retention but the Bord ruled in favour of residents - this despite the inspector’s recommendation that retention be allowed as the present site should be regarded as one of ‘last resort’.

ABP ruled that the equipment mounted on the chimney/roof of the building was “visually obtrusive” and that its retention would “seriously injure the amenities of the area and of property in the vicinity”.

It also stated that if retention were granted, it would set a “dangerous precedent for similar installations and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

Cllr Cameron has welcomed the decision. “I now hope for the immediate and speedy removal of the mast,” he said, “which degraded one of the finest surviving terraces in the area and the architectural standards of the city overall.”

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