Plans for 60ft mast in Stowmarket dropped after meeting

Cllr Barry Humphreys, left, Denise Askew, centre, with a group of residents
Cllr Barry Humphreys, left, Denise Askew, centre, with a group of residents
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Residents in Stowmarket are celebrating after controversial plans for a 60ft mast were dropped.

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL), which manages networks on behalf of 02 and Vodafone, had been overseeing plans to build the 4G mast on land next to Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre.

Permission was granted by Mid Suffolk District Council, with prior approval, in January, as the plans were considered in line with the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, which includes guidelines for the development of the UK telecommunications network.

Nearby residents launched a campaign against the plan, including leafleting, a Facebook page, letter writing and a 400-signature petition.

It prompted a meeting in March, called by Jo Churchill MP, between developers, residents and councillors.

A spokesperson for CTIL, said this week the propose site, which is around 50 metres from the nearest houses and also close to both Wood Ley Primary School and Stowmarket High School had been dropped.

“The campaign gathered support very quickly and we were determined to make sure our voices were heard,” said organiser Denise Askew.

“Government policy has made it easy for developers to win planning permission and though we were never against improving telecommunications, just not with a giant mast so close to houses and schools.”

A spokesman for MSDC said the council, as landlord of the site, also asked developers to consider other sites to ‘improve connectivity’, following the meeting.

Stowmarket Town and Mid Suffolk District Councillor Barry Humphreys MBE, said he was ‘thrilled’ local views had been listened to and that ‘common sense had prevailed’.

Jo Churchill MP, said: “I am pleased that the ongoing discussions involving Mid Suffolk District Council, local councillors and the telecommunications company remain committed to the needs and concerns of local residents, as well as to delivering the most appropriate site for mobile and broadband coverage.

“Local residents should expect connectivity irrespective of where they live, and I am pleased to have been able to facilitate a crucial meeting on this issue, with concerned residents.

“I welcome the next stages of discussions in ensuring local connectivity in the interests of the Stowmarket community.”