Horrabridge Parish Council will oppose the phone mast proposed for the village crossroads.

At a meeting on Tuesday night (Feb.6), planning committee chairman Steve Roche acknowledged the pressure to improve mobile device performance somehow, saying: “Shout at us tomorrow.”

But the council wants a last chance to push an alternative which the phone companies gave up on before – a second site in Fillace Park, said to be more or less out of sight of the neighbours who objected to the first one.

This time, there were about the same number of neighbours, from Manor Estate and Torbridge Road, concerned about microwave radiation, visual intrusion, and possible additional development once a pole is up.

One summed up: “Once it is there, everyone is going to think: why did we allow that to happen?”

Cllr Paul Beard made the point that development of that corner might shut off the possibility of a mini-roundabout later.

John Charlton-Woodgate said the site on the downhill corner of the A386 and Graybridge Road had been chosen because it suited the phone companies rather than it was the best solution to village coverage. Other speakers agreed it was the easy option rather than the best one, mainly because it meant short cable runs – to boxes already put in place by BT.

Cllr Roche said that Shared Access, the consortium which tried to get into Fillace Park before, had not handled its case well and might have given up too easily when planners for the Dartmoor National Park Authority apparently indicated they would oppose any other site by the playing fields, as well as the first one.

The chairman said a show of opposition from the parish would at least get them “three minutes in front of the elected members to argue that we might have a better site and ask the questions we want to ask“.

It was pointed out that there are other big mobile operators, besides the applicants, Vodafone and O2, and the eventual solution might involve inviting their thoughts.

Cllr Eric Hemsil said a shopping trip in Plymouth involved passing a mobile network sub-station every 100 metres or so. He supported the application. But four councillors voted for Cllr Roche’s gamble on doing better.

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