Councillors bemused over Barnard Castle 4G mast snub
BEWILDERED councillors are at a loss as to why a new mobile mast was rejected by planners.
A new 4G base service station had been due for installation near the mini- roundabout on Darlington Road, in Barnard Castle.
But county planners turned down the proposal saying it would be “unduly prominent” and harm the setting of a nearby listed milestone marker.
Members of the town council planning committee could not get their heads around the decision.
Cllr Emma Rowell said: “We appreciate the historical significance of the milestone marker but we need to look to the future and move forward for the residents of Barnard Castle.
“It’s something we really need to develop our businesses.”
Cllr Tony Cooke agreed the mast was needed in the town.
“An overriding fact is we need broadband internet and an increasing number of people do not have these connections,” he said.
“I cannot get any signal at that end of town – it’s been the same situation with connections in Stainton Grove for the past 15 years.”
Town clerk Michael King said he believed the impact of the grade II listed milestone marker had been “somewhat overstated”.
Cllr John Yarker said the decision did not make any sense.
Communications firm Telefonica wanted to install a 12.5m mast and three ground cabinets near the petrol station to improve signal and 4G coverage for O2 and Vodafone customers.
Developers said the site had been “carefully selected” near another mast 100m away.
But the “cumulative impact” of the mast, street lighting and street signs on the westward view of Barnard Castle Conservation Area swayed planners against the proposal.
Councillors were equally unimpressed.
“It’s not a brilliant view anyway,” said Cllr Yarker.
Cllr Blissett added: “We want to be looking into the 21st century.”
The committee agreed to write “a strongly worded letter” to Durham County Council to air their grievances.