Residents incensed as mobile phone mast 'like something from a sci-fi film' goes up in Leamington Road
A mobile phone mast “like something from a sci-film” has gone up on a tree lined main road into Leamington despite initially being rejected by the council.
The 18-metre tall grey mast and three ground-level cabinets went up overnight just feet away from a Warwick District Council (WDC) conservation area.
Leamington Town Council objected against the planning application and WDC officers rejected the plans - but a Government-appointed Planning Inspector overruled its decision.
This has incensed neighbours in Lillington Avenue near its junction with Lillington Road who have condemned the mast as an “absolute eyesore”.
Jim Levack, who lives just inside the conservation area, said there are double standards about planning decisions, adding: “If I want to put a UPVC window in at the rear of my house it’ll be a flat no, but this eyesore is apparently fine.
“Councillors are voted in to represent us and they’ve tried to block this only to be overruled by a faceless, unelected inspector who will never set foot in the town.”
Other neighbours criticised the visibility of the application itself, insisting that no notices were posted anywhere near the site of the 5G mast.
“It’s planning by stealth so no matter what local people have to say, their views are irrelevant if they go against Government policy,” added Mr Levack, a senior editor with a creative communications agency based in Leamington.
Even contractors carrying out the job were surprised by its location, with one saying: “Usually where there are lots of trees we’re told to make sure they blend in by installing green masts, so I’m not sure why that hasn’t happened here.
“There’s a park opposite so it’s odd that they didn’t put it there.
"These masts will be popping up everywhere soon. It’s all part of the Government’s plan to make sure we’ve got better connectivity.”
Newly elected Clarendon Ward councillor Chris King (Labour),said: “Not only had Leamington Town Council, but also district planners, refused the planning application but the planning inspector ignored that advice and granted it.
“I can't tell you how angry this makes me, not specifically over this instance but in general.
"It shows a contempt for local views.
"In this instance your local councillors and local council planners did their job but to no end other than to be ignored.
"That is the issue to be publicised.”
Cllr King, who has spoken with colleagues on the planning committee, added: “They are angry, but one I spoke with mentioned similar instances in the past where the planning inspector has overruled without any reasonable justification, against local advice and wishes.”
Mr Levack added: “This is one of the gateways into Leamington and it looks like something from a sci-fi film has landed.
"Presumably we can all just do what we like now when it comes to planning.”