Go-ahead given for communication mast

The BT exchange in Canmore Street.
The BT exchange in Canmore Street.

Forfar residents have been unsuccessful in their attempt to block the erection of a 40-foot high communication mast near their homes.

A massive campaign mounted in 2004 prevented the installation of a third generation phone mast at the BT exchange in Canmore Street.

At that time the councillors’ collective decision was swayed by 260 letters of objection as well as a 960-signature petition against the mast’s installation.

Several nearby residents again lodged objections on the grounds of the dish’s possible visual impact on their properties and concerns over health.

But at last week’s development control committee meeting members passed the BT Openreach’s application for the mast, which would help to provide faster broadband in the area, saying that the improvements were “a necessary evil”.

When the objections were lodged, a BT spokeswoman said that the location had been chosen partly because it was felt the pole would have a minimal visual impact. The pole had been located within the exchange’s boundary at the rear of the building to minimise the impact on visual amenity.

She also pointed out that it is next to The Greens car park which already has floodlighting so it was felt it would be in keeping with existing street furniture.

At last week’s meeting, Montrose councillor Bill Duff said the need for improved broadband is important in terms of businesses while Brechin member Mairi Evans, although sympathising with residents, pointed out that broadband improvements are also needed even from a tourism point of view. She pointed out that people travelling in the area would use their 3G smartphones to get around.

An amendment by Councillor David Fairweather to refuse the plans was defeated by eight votes to five.