Mobile phone mast row for Corvedale

Mobile phone operators are hoping to put up a new mast in an area of Shropshire notorious for poor signal.

But the plans have already come under fire as the proposed 15 metre mast, complete with three antennae, two dishes and three equipment cabinets has been described by locals as "hideous" and will be far too close to homes and a school, the parish council says.

The mast is planned for the Severn Trent Water pumping station at The Moors, Diddlebury, and is being planned by Vodafone and O2, who together are planning to set up and operate a joint network across the UK overseen by Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd.

The Corvedale area, between Craven Arms and Bridgnorth, is notorious for poor, patchy or non-existent mobile signal, hence the move to put up the mast.

The plans have only just been submitted to Shropshire Council, but Jean de Rusett, clerk of Diddlebury Parish Council which covers the area, said it is planned for the wrong place.

She said the parish council was "disappointed" the application had been submitted before members had formally debated it, which they were due to do on July 27 – but a discussion had already been had with members of the public at a meeting in May, at which point it was unpopular.

She said: "A number of residents from The Moors attended and voiced their very considerable concerns about this proposed application, especially a resident who lives adjacent to the proposed site and who has a young family – as do many residents of The Moors."

She said the mast may be fully compliant with guidelines over public exposure to mobile phone mast radiation, but it was still within a village and close to a school, which was bound to cause consternation.

"It does little to reassure parents and members of the public who can find an abundance of contradictory scientific evidence supporting the view that a proximity of less than 300 metres from such an installation is unsafe," she said.

She added: "Quite apart from the health and safety aspects, which may be arguable, an unarguable fact is this installation will be a hideous intrusion in an otherwise attractive village in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

"While Diddlebury Parish Council is only too well aware of of the very poor mobile telephone coverage in this area, we doubt that many of pour parishioners would welcome this intrusive development or regard it as a price worth paying for improved mobile telephone coverage."

She added that the parish council would be more likely to accept such a mast if it was away from residential buildings and well screened.

"This is a big parish. We cannot believe a more appropriate site cannot be found," she said, adding that, as the application stands, "there is no possibility that the parish council will support it."

The plans have yet to be decided upon by Shropshire Council planners.

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