Afore the mast

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RESIDENTS of Newton Mearns have banded together against plans to erect a phone mast on one of the area’s busy commuter roads.

The application submitted by Vodafone in May proposed a 15 metre high telephone mast and two ground base stations at the junction of Westacres and Barrhead Roads.

The plan has prompted anger from neighbours, who have taken their complaint to the street with a campaign banner erected at the site.

According to resident Mark Kelly, this is the third application within 100m of Barrhead Road.

He told The Extra: “Vodafone have stated that the development within this area is unavoidable if it’s to be provided with an effective 3G coverage solution.

“However they have yet to demonstrate the need for it in this area, which is already superbly covered”.

East Renfrewshire council have received over 40 representations from members of the public as well as Newton Mearns community council, many citing the height of the mast as well as pedestrian safety at the junction.

Health concerns have also been raised, although current rules dictate that these cannot be used in objections without evidence.

Visibility for drivers using both roads has also been called into question — and this week, a spokeswoman for Vodafone told The Extra: “In order to address concerns about the proposed base station’s prominence and visibility for drivers, the height of the structure has been reduced to 14m”.

She added: “Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel.

“Base stations are low-powered devices which only cover approximately half a mile in radius and therefore we have to put them close to our customers”.

Mr Kelly commented: “The key issue for residents is still the worry over road and pedestrian safety, the health risks and the visual impact of the mast.

“It’s a site adjacent to an area which young children frequently play on, and there are other sites which could have been chosen, away from people’s homes.

“It’s irrelevant whether Vodafone reduce the size of the mast by one metre”.

The Barrhead Road mast is the latest proposal to come under fire for residents, and The Extra recently reported on similar situations at Capelrig Road, also in Newton Mearns, and Busby Road, Clarkston.

However, not all residents object to phone masts — as one Waterfoot resident discusses in this week’s Letters page (see page 12).

Do you object to phone masts in residential areas, or are they necessary? Share your thoughts on Facebook (Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra) or Twitter (@ExtraSouthside).