Ruffley Opposes Telecommunications Mast On Bt Exchange In Whiting Street

Thursday, 23 October, 2003

David Ruffley is again voicing his strong opposition to the proposal to erect a telecommunications mast on top of the BT Telephone Exchange in Whiting Street.

David, in conjunction with St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor, Paul Farmer, has consistently opposed a mast on this site and collected signatures from a large number of local residents on a petition which was presented to the Council when the application was first made.

The text of David's letters of opposition are below.

David said: 'People do not want a mast on top of the BT building. First, it would be an eyesore. The building itself is totally out of character in Bury's Historic Core Zone and a mast would only draw attention to it even more. Secondly, we still do not know what the health effects of masts are. So for health reasons it is inappropriate to put a mast in the middle of a residential area that also has a school and old people's housing- potentially the two most vulnerable groups of people. And finally, a mast here would only open the floodgates to others in the area. We must send a strong message to the Planning Inspectorate that this mast is not welcome in Whiting Street.'

21st October 2003

Planning Inspectorate
3/08a Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Appeal Reference: APP/E3525/A/03/1128708

Telecommunications equipment at Bury St EdmundsTelephone Exchange
Whiting Street
Bury St Edmunds

I write to reiterate my strong opposition to the planning application by Hutchinson 3G UK Ltd to erect telecommunications equipment on the BT Telephone Exchange in Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds.

I attach a copy of my letter to St Edmundsbury Borough Council dated 11th April 2003 in respect of this application. The views I expressed in that letter remain unchanged.

This is a matter on which the views expressed by my constituents in the area are totally in opposition to the proposal. Not one person has spoken in favour of it. I have been working closely on this matter with St Edmundsbury Borough Councillor, Paul Farmer, and his experience has been the same. He too confirms that the opinion of the public is undivided.

I urge you to dismiss the appeal.

11th April 2003
Mr J R Massey
Director of Planning & Transportation
St Edmundsbury Borough Council
St Edmundsbury House
Western Way
Bury St Edmunds IP33 3YS

Planning Application SE/03/1783/P

Telecommunications Equipment

Telephone Exchange, Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds

I am writing on behalf of many of my constituents who live in Whiting Street and the surrounding area to express my opposition to the above planning application.

I share their concern about the potential health hazards from the telecommunications mast which will be installed on the building. As you will be aware, the Telephone Exchange has three schools in close proximity to it as well as accommodation for elderly people.

I opposed the previous application and I once again oppose the new plans on visual amenity grounds. It is extremely like that, if planning permission is granted for the presently proposed equipment, more equipment will be added in the future.

The Planning Inspector, in dismissing BT Cellnet's appeal on 22 April 2002, stated:

'The Local Planning Authority has submitted evidence of several other operators that are actively interested in sharing this rooftop site. Their concern about the impact of proliferation is in my view well founded. The creation of what one local resident describes as a 'Christmas cake' effect from an increasing number of poorly located antennae would very seriously harm the appearance and historic character of this part of the Conservation Area.'

I do not accept- and nor do many local residents- that disguising the equipment as a flagpole is a satisfactory response to the visual amenity objections raised by previous objectors. I believe it is totally inappropriate for a building in the historic core zone of Bury St Edmunds to be used as a site for telecommunications equipment. However it is disguised, the fact remains that such equipment will detract from the local environment. The BT Exchange is already quite out of keeping with the character of the area and nothing should be permitted to accentuate its inappropriate intrusion in this Conservation Area.

I shall be grateful if you will convey my opposition to the planning application to members of the Planning Committee.