Families win battle against plans for phone mast near school
HUNDREDS of children have won their fight against plans for a mobile telephone mast yards from their school.
Many of the jubilant youngsters and their teachers from Mossley Primary School, Congleton, cheered in the council chamber as the proposal for the 60-foot high (18 metres) structure at Little Moss Farm in Priory Close was unanimously rejected.
Residents from 119 households, Congleton Town Council and local MP Fiona Bruce also objected to the application from Telefonica for the mast to be operated by O2 and Vodafone.
A similar bid by the company to site a mast on the same location had been thrown out in January.
But after examining 15 alternative spots in the Congleton area, it made a second bid for the Little Moss site.
The new application was for a shorter mast, painted green to blend in with surroundings, which was enough for Cheshire East Council planning officers to recommend approval.
But members of the Southern Planning Committee meeting in Crewe yesterday gave it another resounding thumbs-down on the grounds that it was still too high, in a prominent position on the edge of the Green Belt and would harm the character and appearance of the area.
Even though members were told its radiation emissions would have been well within limits, councillors said any possible harm could not be discounted.
After the vote, Sue Aston, headteacher of the 345-pupil school, said: "We are delighted and let's hope this is the end of the matter.
"The mast would have been only 30 metres from our mobile classroom and it would spoil a beautiful view.
"All the children are set against it and were very worried about the mast going up as well as any harmful effects from it. They even wrote five letters to the planning authority."
Pupil Stanley Tatters, aged 11, of Mossley, said: "I will be leaving soon but I'm glad it has been turned down for the sake of my friends who are just starting at the school and would have had to live with it for seven years."
Steve Muirhead told the committee that some fellow parents were so worried they were considering taking their children "out of one of Cheshire's finest schools."
He added: "It is two and half times higher than houses, towers over the trees, destroys beautiful views - and has no widespread public benefit."
Members said they were concerned the applicant had not consulted the school and had failed to attend the meeting.