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Campaign launched to stop Shorne Common phone mast

PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 January 2020

Shorne Common where there are plans to build a communications tower. Picture: Bob Lane

Shorne Common where there are plans to build a communications tower. Picture: Bob Lane

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A campaign to stop mobile phone companies putting up a communications tower at Shorne Common has been launched.

The chairman of Shorne Parish Council Bob Lane says he has the backing of many locals who he says are up in arms about the plans.

It is thought there are plans to erect a mobile phone tower on the recreation area and beauty spot.

Kevin Burbidge, director of planning and development at Gravesham Council, said the authority has received an initial inquiry about a base station but has not received a formal planning application.

He said: "Our advice was that due to its location in a Conservation Area and its height, the proposed mast would require planning permission."

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Mr Lane claims it will be 25 metres tall in an eight metre by eight metre enclosed fenced compound within feet of a toddlers' play area and adjacent to Shorne Scouts hut.

The common was gifted to the people of Shorne in 1908 by the 8th Earl of Darnley specifically for the purpose of creating a recreation area for the enjoyment of the people of Shorne and the surrounding area.

Shorne Parish Council, the custodians of the land, have rejected the plans put forward, but under recent changes to legislation the mobile phone network operators now have the power to ask a court to impose their plans on landowners, irrespective of their objections.

Mr Lane said: "We acknowledge that something needs to be done to improve mobile phone coverage in Shorne, but we would have thought that the operators could have come up with something less intrusive than what they intend to install.

"This will dominate the skyline, and ruin the beauty spot that the parish council has looked after for over 100 years.

"We have offered to facilitate a public meeting where they can outline their plans and address residents' concerns, but they have flatly refused."

Cornerstone plans and builds base stations for O2 and a spokesman said: "O2 have proposed a new base station at Shorne Common to improve the telecommunications coverage to the local area, which would lead to enhanced services locally."

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