Historic Blackpool buildings protected as mast plan thrown out

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Campaigners have won their battle to prevent a 15 metre high communications mast being installed alongside historic buildings in Blackpool.

 

Preston-based IX Wireless had applied for permission from the council to locate the mast at Sparrow’s Park on Raikes Parade, near to the Grade II listed Salvation Army Citadel.

The area also includes locally listed sites at eight and 10 Raikes Parade, the former Methodist Church on Raikes Parade, the Regent Cinema on Church Street and Stanley Buildings to the west and is adjacent to the Raikes Hall Conservation Area.

Ward councillors Mark Smith and Jane Hugo, Blackpool South MP Scott Benton and 16 residents had objected to the proposal claiming it would damage the setting of the historical buildings.

Coun Jane Hugo and Coun Mark Smith at  the site of the proposed mast in Sparrow's Park

Coun Jane Hugo and Coun Mark Smith at the site of the proposed mast in Sparrow’s Park

Town hall planners have refused an application for prior approval for the mast saying it would be “highly visible” and cause “material harm to the value and significance of the conservation area as well as nearby heritage assets.”

Coun Smith said: “We’re not against technology and progress but I don’t want to sacrifice an iconic area for the sake of technology.

“These companies must work with communities to find locations where there is no visual impact.

“I’m pleased on this occasion the views of residents and councillors were listened to because people did not want this mast next to listed buildings in the heart of the Raikes Hall Conservation Area.”

It is the second victory for campaigners after successfully blocking proposals from CK Hutchison, trading as Three UK, for an 18 metre high mast on Whitegate Drive, at the corner of Leeds Road, which would also have been in the Raikes Hall Conservation Area.

In recent months there have been dozens of applications from different companies to install phone masts around Blackpool as part of a national drive to boost advanced 5G mobile phone and internet coverage.

Masts do not always need full planning permission as applicants may only need to seek ‘telecommunications prior approval’. This means the application is covered by national policy because it is deemed to be part of vital infrastructure.