Fears over Coal Aston phone mast plans

Residents and councillors have voiced concern about plans for a new mobile phone mast in their village.

Councillors Alex Dale and Gareth Hopkinson close to the proposed site on Eckington Road. Picture submitted.
Councillors Alex Dale and Gareth Hopkinson close to the proposed site on Eckington Road. Picture submitted.

On behalf of O2 and Vodafone, Clarke Telecom has submitted a planning application to North East Derbyshire Ditsrict Council for the 17.5-metre mast on greenbelt land at Eckington Road, Coal Aston.

Michael Newton, who lives opposite the proposed site, said: “We do not require a 60-foot monstrosity of a mobile phone mast here.

“There are still unproven health issues and concerns over the effects of phone masts sited close to residential areas.

“This site is within the Moss Valley Conservation Area and this beautiful landscape and heritage asset should be left alone.”

Conservative councillors Alex Dale and Gareth Hopkinson have distributed a survey to more than 400 homes in the area to gauge people’s opinions on the proposals.

It found 70 per cent of respondents opposed the planned development.

Coun Dale said: “Coal Aston and Dronfield already benefit from good 4G coverage so many people are wondering what the actual point of the bid is.

“I would appeal to residents to take a look at the plans online and submit comments to the district council as part of the planning process.”

Coun Hopkinson added: “Along with Alex, we will continue to fight tooth and nail to protect the land.”

The Derbyshire Times asked Clarke Telecom if it would like to respond to the concerns raised but the Manchester-based company did not reply.

However, documents submitted to the district council by Clarke Telecom stated: “In order to continue to meet customer demand and improve the quality of customer services, there is a need to increase the capacity of the network to allow more calls to be made.

“It is important to note that in recent years the industry has been able to develop low-impact designs for use in sensitive areas such as conservation areas.”

The company added that it ‘fully complies’ with planning policy guidelines.

Residents can email [email protected] if they would like to have their say on the controversial plans.