Preston telecommunications company IX Wireless today put forward their proposal to the Planning and Transportation Regulatory Panel. These propositions did not fail to attract considerable controversy with passionate statements from Rebecca Long-Bailey, councilors, community leaders, and local residents alike.
The 15m masts were proposed to be placed at 6 locations in Eccles, Swinton, and Walkden. The company hoped to gain prior approval before starting construction and was hopeful for a successful meeting as Salford City Council recommended the plans for approval.
It looked to be a relatively straightforward affair as 13m of the 15 for the masts did not in fact need any approval to be erected. It was pointed out that although the structure was a significant height, it was a slim one meaning it would cause less disruption to its surroundings and objection from locals. The company claimed that when completed the masts would have significant benefits to the community due to improved communications networks.
The panel heard that the company had informed residents of neighboring and nearby housing and accommodation and had only received minimal objections in response. However, residents and councilors both raised the fact that due to Salford being a multicultural community that prides itself on its reputation as a sanctuary city for refugees that many of its residents either do not speak English or have limited skills in English, others may speak English fluently as a first language or otherwise but due to poverty may not have access to the internet or the time or ability to be able to understand a complicated letter create an account online and compose a letter of objection in response.
Speaking on the mast set to be placed on Chadwick Road (as shown in the featured image), Rebecca Long-Bailey MP said:
“I am speaking on behalf of numerous residents that cannot speak for themselves. The proposed site is a busy residential road and the footpath of the carriageway is already busy. The street lighting columns would be below half the height of the structure. The proposed placing is right next to a house window and would be in direct view of flat windows across the road.
As its such a dense residential area, 15m high would be very prominent and would tower above everything other than the flats. Due to the scale of the mast it will be detrimental to the quality of the appearance of the area and nearby properties. It will sit starkly against the skyline.
There has been no technical information provided as to why it should be this site over other options, and there have been no alternatives put forward.
Similar cases have been refused in Greater Manchester, I hope that’s what you do. I hope the applicant looks at more suitable sites across the city working with the council”.
The other sites included Ellesmere Street, Winster Road, Woodsmoor Road, Leamington Road, and Chilham Street.
The application was refused on the grounds of a lack of evidence of the benefit to the community, the fact that they hadn’t proved the infrastructure was already in place for their needs, and due to the appearance and the damage it would have on the community.