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Ceredigion, and West Wales

 

The letter from the Council seemed innocuous enough – a new pole with 3 antennas – maybe we were going to get a better mobile telephone signal near New Quay. No mention of the police, or of a Tetra mast. The planning application in the Council Office told a different story - so we had a meeting!

On the evening of December 30th, a Residents meeting was held to discuss concerns about the proposed Tetra mast close to the village. The meeting was called after some (not all) local residents received a letter from the Ceredigion Council about the Proposal Erection of a 15m high monopole to support 3 antennas, equipment cabin and associated works at Cefn Coed Isaf Farm, near New Quay.

At the meeting – attended by Councilors from New Quay and Cross Inn as well as 50 to 60 residents, a wide range of points of view and concerns were expressed. It was agreed that a petition against the mast already signed by several hundred residents would be sent to the Council as soon as possible. It was also agreed that a small committee would meet to co-ordinate opposition to the proposed Tetra mast and that as many individuals as possible should write to the planning committee outlining their concerns.

Now visit the Ceredigion local campaign website: Tetra Masts going up in West Wales: and concerns about pupils at Aberaeron school

This motion on Telecommunications passed at Ceredigion County Council‘s last meeting is the first of its type in Wales

A Telecommunications Motion passed at Ceredigion County Council’s meeting last week is the first of its type in Wales. The motion was proposed by Llanbadarn Fawr Plaid Cymru Councillor Paul James and seconded by Cllr Gethin James Independent Councillor for Aberporth. This motion had two intentions. Firstly, to remove delegated powers from the Director of Environmental Services and Housing who previously had the authority to pass masts under the 15 metre ruling and secondly, to tighten up guidance on pre consultation discussions and information to local communities before any applications for the erection of masts are submitted to the councilís planning department by telecommunications companies.

Cllr James told the meeting, ‘he was disappointed to find himself back in front of the council a second time to present a motion on the same subject, following his verbal proposal in February’s Council meeting, which was passed unanimously’.

Cllr James went on by saying, ‘if this motion is now formally passed it will become council policy and this time there can be no deviation from it whatsoever’.

He added that his reasons for presenting the motion again formally was because he felt that there had been a lot of slippage and misunderstanding in relation to mast applications recently and that this was due to the lack of clarity and transparency in Planning Notices. He had understood that, following his motion to Council in February, that they should now contain information ensuring that all residents of the county had the full facts as to the type of mast development proposed and a proper chance to object within the 21 day period. This, however, was not the case.

Also he noted, ‘at the last Development Control and Licensing Committee the agenda contained a number of mast applications for Police communications systems, but alas, no mention of the Tetra system. WHY? I feel that this is inexcusable as people have a right to know.’

Cllr James continued by saying, ‘I feel as councillors we should show residents of this county that we mean to tighten up on this situation. I realize that most of the time our hands are tied due to planning legislation, however, I feel it’s time we showed the people of Ceredigion that we are trying to address many of the problems that they are experiencing by every means at our disposal, while at the same time clarifying our position as a council. It is, therefore, clearly our duty as elected members to protect the people we represent from these unscrupulous companies, who use intimidation, bully boy tactics and flex their corporate muscle, while riding rough shod, not only over our local communities but also over our own planning department.

If this motion is passed today it will clarify our position as a council not only in relation to mobile phone masts/base stations and any other type of telecommunication equipment, but also mobile cell masts.’

Another issue, discussed was the provision of the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) to allow for the emergency siting of mobile phone masts for maintenance or the replacement of unserviceable masts. This provision does not extend to the use of greenfield sites. Lately, however, these companies have been exploiting their emergency powers of permitted development rights, by placing two mobile phone masts on two greenfield sites within the county. This in areas where there were no masts to be upgraded or serviced. Cllr James felt that this went completely against the principle of this Town & Country Planning Order.

He noted that, ‘These companies have then had the cheek to apply for planning permission for erection of masts on those sites quoting their permitted development rights. I believe this to be flouting the planning system, a totally unacceptable situation and something that these companies are well aware of. I, therefore, ask you to vote with your conscience and support this motion.’

Following a full debate, the motion was passed with minor amendments.

Due to the County Council’s lack of powers when dealing with Tetra mast applications, a further emergency motion was proposed by Plaid Cymru Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn that the council write to our Parliamentary and Assembly representatives for Ceredigion, Mr Simon Thomas MP and Ms Elin Jones AM and to the other 21 councils in Wales, seeking their support in order to strengthen planning policy in this regard.

This motion was passed unanimously by full council.

31/10/04
 

TETRA, under construction in Llanidloes Helicopeter lift to build TETRA at Llangenith. Is this the way to run a democratic country?
 

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