Manea misses out on better 3 and 4G after Fenland Council rejects mast application - but parish council is not happy with the decision

PUBLISHED: 13:10 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:10 02 January 2020

Manea parish council is unhappy with the reasons for refusal by Fenland Council of new mast that would have improved 3 and 4G communications. Picture; GOOGLE

Manea parish council is unhappy with the reasons for refusal by Fenland Council of new mast that would have improved 3 and 4G communications. Picture; GOOGLE

Archant

Parish councillors in Manea have urged a telecoms company to appeal a decision by Fenland Council that has prevented a new phone mast being installed in the village.

The mast would have boosted the signal in the village which was identified last month by Mayor James Palmer as being one of the worst connected communities in the county.

Parish clerk Alan Melton has written to Nick Harding, the head of planning at Fenland Council, explaining how "extremely disappointed" his council is with the refusal.

Cornerstone and Telefonica UK Ltd had wanted to install the 20 metre monopole and cabinets in Park Road, Manea.

But their application was refused by council officers on the grounds of the possible impact it could have on surrounding trees.

Planning officers also felt the "scale and siting" of the mast and equipment "is considered to have a significant detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the area".

But Mr Melton, who has also addressed his concerns to Fenland Council leader Chris Boden, said the telecoms company had never had any intention to damage the trees.

"Steps could and would have been taken to mitigate the possibility of any damage to the tree roots - and anyone with knowledge of construction would know that".

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He said that as the council owns the cemetery they could have taken steps to lessen the impact.

"However our main complaint is that there doesn't seem to have any serious discussion about the connectivity and the economic impact on the surrounding area," said Mr Melton.

"In Manea there is no signal for 3 or 4G communications. Manea is a 'growth settlement' and is likely to remain so.

Mr Melton added: "The lack of assessment regarding the long term economic significance is appalling and the lack of consultation with the economic portfolio holder or elected members is also appalling.

"The application should never have been dealt with by a planning officer under delegated powers."

The parish clerk said he had written to Telefonica Ltd urging them to appeal and request under the 'free go' policy to re-submit the application.

The planning officer emphasised that the council's policy was to ensure such masts should be "camouflaged where necessary".

Mr Melton described the reasons for refusal as "spurious".

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