The eir exchange site at New Inn. Picture Maria Taylor
Residents campaigning against the erection of a 15m high telecommunications mast in the heart of New Inn village have achieved a significant victory with Tipperary County Council refusing planning permission for the structure.
Eir’s planning application seeking to erect the mast at the eir exchange building at Graigue, New Inn was rejected by the council’s planners on July 8 because of the negative visual impact it would have on New Inn village and its visual amenities.
The mobile phone and broadband service company has up to four weeks from the date of the council’s decision to lodge an appeal with An Bord Pleanála.
Meanwhile, the council has deferred its decision on a similar application by eir to erect an 18m telecommunications mast at the eir exchange building at Kilcooley Way, Gortnahoe.
Local residents are also opposed to this application.
The local authority requested eir to supply further information on the proposed development last week and the company has six months to do this.
Eir’s controversial New Inn planning application seeking permission for a 15m “monopole telecommunications structure with antennae, dishes and associated equipment” attracted 64 submissions/objections, mostly from local residents concerned its location was too close to New Inn’s homes, businesses and national schools.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath, local councillors Andy Moloney (Ind), Máirín McGrath (Ind) and Michael Fitzgerald (FG) and New Inn Tidy Towns committee were also among the objectors.
Cathy Moloney is one of the New Inn residents relieved at the council’s decision. She and her husband Gerard live next door to New Inn’s eir exchange.
She said they were delighted with the council’s decision but pointed out it was just the first step in stopping the mast and they are now waiting to see if eir will lodge an appeal.
“It (the mast) would impact on us very much if it went ahead. I could put my hand out the door of my house and touch the site.
“It’s really up on top of us here. It would have been a disaster. They were going to put an eight foot high fence around the mast. It would have looked awful.
“Thank God the council has refused permission.
“We are happy at the moment and hopefully we will stay that way.”
Tipperary County Council refused planning permission because it deemed the mast would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area and would contravene the South Tipperary County Development Plan 2009 and the 1996 Guidelines for Planning Authorities on Telecommunications, Antennae & Support Structures.
Outlining the reasons for the refusal, the council’s acting Director of Planning & Water Services Eamon Lonergan explained that under the Development Plan and guidelines, proposals for telecommunications masts will be facilitated where it is established there is “no significant adverse impact on the surrounding areas and the receiving environment”.
He said the application site for this telecommunications structure was within New Inn village, adjoining residential areas, amenity areas and in close proximity to schools, churches and community buildings.
“The proposed development would form a visually prominent and highly visible feature within New Inn and would negatively impact on the visual amenities and character of the settlement,” he outlined.
Mr Lonergan also said the council was not satisfied, having regard to the limitations in information on other existing sites considered, that no other location was identified that would provide adequate telecommunication.
Eir sought planning permission for the mast to enable it to significantly improve its mobile phone and broadband service provision to New Inn and to facilitate “site sharing” with third party operators from within its New Inn telecommunications exchange.
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