Villagers poised to win mast battle

Villagers in Colkirk look set to win a battle against a proposed new phone mast after taking on the role of land agents.Instead of writing petitions or lobbying their MP, villagers and Colkirk Parish council took a constructive view when faced with having a 30m high mobile phone mast built in full view of most of their homes.

Villagers in Colkirk look set to win a battle against a proposed new phone mast after taking on the role of land agents.

Instead of writing petitions or lobbying their MP, villagers and Colkirk Parish council took a constructive view when faced with having a 30m high mobile phone mast built in full view of most of their homes.

Mobile phone firm O2 already has a mast in the village but needs to move it because the lease on the land ran out in December.

But because villagers didn't like the proposed new location, 45metres from the current site which is shielded by trees, they have come up with a new site.


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Not only that, they negotiated with the land owners, the diocese of Norwich, and got an extension to O2's current lease from current landlord T Banham Ltd in Church Road to give the firm time to explore the alternative site, in the same road.

Their cause was boosted yesterday when Breckland Council's development control committee refused planning permission for O2's preferred site.

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Until yesterday, O2 was still pushing ahead with the application for the mast on the site villagers didn't want, saying that because the lease had ended they didn't have time to explore other sites.

But following the meeting Andrew Hopkins, network agent for O2, said that, having learned about the extension of the lease, 'O2 is prepared and happy to work with the parish council and residents to look at alternatives'.

Peter Hopkinson, a villager who has been at the front of the work over the mast, said: 'The site would look over the whole village.

'With the parish council we have found a site which would be sheltered by trees.

'We have worked very hard with the diocese and they and their very efficient solicitors would be able to start the paperwork immediately.'

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