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Galway City Council turns down 18-metre mobile phone pole


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway City Council turns down 18-metre mobile phone pole Galway City Council turns down 18-metre mobile phone pole

A company which provides telecoms mast infrastructure for mobile phone operators has been refused permission for an 18-metre pole on the Western Distributor Road in Galway.

Emerald Tower, which is part of Phoenix Tower International, had been refused permission to erect an 18m dual operator pole – to be used by two phone companies – as well as an equipment cabinet on a site just off the Deane Roundabout.

The application was made under Section 254 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 – seeking a licence to erect strategic communications infrastructure – rather than through the regular planning application process.

Galway City Council rejected the proposal, ruling it would be premature ahead of finalisation of plans for a bus corridor on the Western Distributor Road, as the site is part of roadside lands within that corridor.

The local authority also objected on the grounds of visual amenity, because of the interruption to views for people living in Leitir Búrca.

Emerald Tower appealed the decision, pointing out that the pole would be used by Eir mobile and another operator and that existing masts would be too remote to allow for “satisfactory mast sharing”.

The company said that if the pole was to be re-sited to a position immediately adjacent to the boundary wall with Leitir Búrca, there would be ample room to include a 4.5m to 5m bus lane and the likes of street lighting.

It added Section 254 licences have a duration of five years, and the Council could withdraw it and have the mast removed at the licensee’s expense.

An Bord Pleanála’s Planning Inspector, Hugh D Morrison, said that the Board could not consider the alternative site for the proposal which was only put forward at the appeal stage, that it would have to be subject of an entirely new application.

However, he did note that the pole would be seen in conjunction with an existing streetlight and he did not consider that its visual impact would be significant.

The Board upheld the City Council’s refusal, ruling: “It is considered that the proposal would be premature in advance of the determination of the infrastructural requirements, traffic management and priority arrangements that may be required to be made to the Western Distributor Road in the vicinity of the site to facilitate improvements to bus services.

“Accordingly, to permit this proposal now would prejudice such determination, and so it would contravene the aforementioned policies of the City Development Plan and, thereby, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

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