Leeds residents in mast victory row

Residents who beautified their local shopping parade are celebrating victory over telecoms companies.

Slaid Hill in Bloom Committee was worried that its gardens at Wigton Moor would be ruined by a 50ft-high mobile phone mast sited nearby.

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But city planners have refused to give it permission because they claimed it would spoil the look of the parade and it would be a safety hazard. They thought the mast would interfere with vision at a T-

junction.

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Vodafone and 02 wanted to site the mast close to gardens outside the Dexter pub on Wike Ridge Lane. These have been carefully cultivated by volunteers over the last four years.

Mrs Margaret Herbert, secretary, said they feared their good work would be undone. "The planners' rejection was like a Christmas present to us," she said.

"A mast is needed in this area – we don't have a problem with that. But we wish the companies would work with Wigton Moor and Harewood Parish

Council to find a site that everyone would be happy with. There is so much farmland and open space around here," she went on. "It should not be a huge problem."

Alwoodley councillor Peter Harrand said: "The community has won a battle that should never have been necessary.

"Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks that this land is available for their commercial benefit."

A spokesman for the mobile phone companies said they would now consider their options.

"It usually takes about a month for our planning specialists to produce a report which will go to a regional manager with a recommendation," he said.

"The chances are 60-40 in favour of our appealing against the decision. We tend to appeal in a slight majority of cases.

"It may be that there is an alternative site out there but it is very unlikely."

Mrs Herbert said she believed the objection by the city highways department on safety grounds would be very hard to overcome.

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