independent

Sunday 22 September 2019

Permission denied for 'smartphone' mast

VODAFONE SAYS TRYING TO HELP BUSINESS, BUT...

DAVID MEDCALF

VODAFONE plans for a mast in Enniscorthy to serve the growing number of smart phone customers have been shot down as not smart enough by Wexford County Council. The planners have denied permission to the telecommunications giant for the new tower beside the Old Dublin Road on the grounds that the firm should consider using an existing mast.

The application for a '30 metres high telecommunications structure' at the Pump Palace gym in Kilcannon came with the consent of property owner David Murphy. In its submission to the local authority, Vodafone explained that with more iPhones and Blackberry style phones in use, the demand for downloading data has increased.

The company suggested that, with improved GSM and 3G coverage, Enniscorthy's business community would benefit from the improved mobile broadband speeds. However, the application prompted an objection from ESB Telecom, who already have a mast 90 metres away from the proposed Pump Palace location which accommodates three mobile/broadband operators.

The objector observed that it is public policy to use existing towers to the maximum before allowing the erection of new masts. According to the submission signed by senior planning consultant Denise Healy, Vodafone did not consult ESB Telecoms about building a similar structure so close to their facility.

Ms. Healy's reasoning was accepted by planners concerned that the proposed new mast would be close to the public road and potentially ' intrusive'. They ruled that the possibility of using the ESB tower should be fully explored before planning permission could be considered.

The refusal of the application followed a couple of months after plans for a giant mast in the Drumgoold/Vinegar Hill area on the other side of Enniscorthy were turned down. In that case also, the controversial new mast would have been close to an existing facility

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