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Conservatives walk away from phone mast battle - Hinckley & Bosworth Liberal Democrats

July 7, 2008 10:02 AM

LIBERAL Democrats in Hinckley & Bosworth have launched a stinging attack on the Conservatives for refusing to support calls to tighten up planning rules on mobile phone masts.

Currently, fewer restrictions govern planning applications for phone masts up to 15 metres in height, often making it difficult for councils to refuse permission for controversial proposals.

Liberal Democrats in Parliament recently moved an amendment to the Planning Bill which would have meant applications for phone masts would have required full planning permission and therefore be considered in the same way as applications for new buildings or change of use of existing ones.

But Labour MPs voted against the call and Conservative MPs did not bother voting at all.

Liberal Democrat Regeneration Spokesman, Cllr Stuart Bray, (Hinckley Castle) said, "Communities can sometimes be powerless to stop inappropriately sited phone masts going ahead because the planning system has fewer restrictions on them than for many other planning applications.

"This gives phone companies an advantage which is not enjoyed by other individuals and businesses applying for planning permission. Our amendment would have made the system fairer.

"I was very disappointed however to see that the Conservatives did not bother to vote for this change. They simply sat on their hands, despite telling everyone at the general election that they support this policy.

"As a result, communities in Hinckley & Bosworth will continue to find it hard to battle against inappropriate phone masts."