A COMMUNITY is being torn in two by a planning application for a mobile phone mast.
The villages of Tregynon and Bettws Cedewain sit in communication dark-spots where signal on all networks is intermittent at best, necessitating a new mast.
CTIL and Telefonica UK Ltd (CTIL) have applied for permission to put a 17.5 metre mast on land at Tyn y Bryn Farm through the agent Clarke Telecom Ltd.
Unfortunately the proposed site of the mast, identified by the agent, is nine metres away from a business, 15 metres away from someone’s home and close to the residence of two disabled individuals, emphasising health concerns that come with the mast.
Residents have been split by the proposal; some have been waiting decades for mobile signal in their homes, others are worried about the impact on the nearby business, many are concerned for the health of those nearby, and several responses to the application have highlighted the need for emergency calls in remote areas.
Noel Owen, of NEO Fabrication and Erection Ltd, is concerned that he might lose members of his 20-strong workforce.
He said: “I am adamant that if this mast comes next to us, we go.
“Anybody we talk to, they say we are too close.
“When I first told one of my employees, he said if the mast comes, he goes.
“Everyone wants a mast but let’s site them correctly,” he added.
Mr Owen, along with his family, all live near the proposed mast.
In his official response to the application, Mr Owen said: “I am also worried about my family, especially our severely disabled daughter who suffers from epilepsy.
“How will the mast affect her?”
The application has currently received more than 60 responses from residents and businesses.
One response in support of the application said: “As our family runs a small business from the village it would be an asset.”
Pointing out the dangers of losing access to emergency services, another said: “We think of the safety of farmers and such using tractors etc, it would be a life saver.”
The community may be collectively uncertain about the proposed location, but the majority agree that signal is needed.
Resident and ex-county councillor Peter Harris said that there are better alternative sites for a mast.
He said: “We have identified two sites where there would be no objections and the land owners would welcome it.
“They have both been proved to have good coverage.
“This is not about money, at Tyn Y Bryn they just want mobile coverage.
“This present agent just seems to have ignored the alternative sites. We have even offered to pay for the re-application.”
The proposed mast would bring coverage for O2 networks along with others that use O2 related infrastructure.
n The full application with responses can be viewed at: planning.powys.gov.uk searching for planning code P/2017/0708.
See full story in the County Times