Approval for 15m phone mast near school ‘beggars belief’

by Sylvia Pownall
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[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]A decision to grant permission for a 15m phone mast near a school and church in Castleknock has been blasted as “disgraceful”.

An Bord Pleanala ruled in favour of the mast, despite three months ago rejecting an application for a lower mast of 12m on the same site because it would be visually intrusive.

The site at the entrance to Laurel Lodge shopping centre is within 50 metres of a 500-pupil primary school, a busy creche, a community centre and a church.

Local Labour representative John Walsh said: “The decision by An Bord Pleanala is disgraceful and completely contrary to a number of previous planning decisions on the same application.

“It simply beggars belief that the board has chosen to grant the appeal in favour of the mast, having previously rejected a lower phone tower of 12 metres as visually intrusive and an undesirable precedent as late as August this year.”

An Bord Pleanala chose to overrule its own inspector who agreed with professional planners in Fingal County Council in recommending rejection of the structure.

Mr Walsh said: “It is quite extraordinary that the Bord chose to consider a second application by the same applicant on this site, which was very similar to the first application except for the greater height of the mast.

“They then proceeded to give a decision which directly contradicted the logic and reasoning of its own decision three months ago.

“Residents now have to deal with the prospect of a visually intrusive phone tower in a car park, right beside Scoil Thomais NS and St Thomas the Apostle Church.”

The local Telecommunications Mast Action Group claims the second application is null and void under Section 37(5) of the 2000 Planning and Development Act.

The action group contends that the application should never have been accepted by Fingal County Council for consideration in the first place while there was an outstanding appeal lodged with An Bord Pleanala.

A spokesperson said: “We believe that this proposed telecommunications mast represents a serious health hazard and also its scale, height, siting and prominent location would be environmentally disastrous for the surrounding area.”

In its ruling, An Bord Pleanala said the “proposed monopole structure, while noticeable, would not be intrusive …” in direct contradiction of its ruling in August.

Mr Walsh said this was “simply ludicrous”, adding: “There is no reasonable explanation for such a radical U-turn. Decisions like this threaten to bring the board and the planning process itself into disrepute.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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