Flintshire residents blighted by mast’s noise and fumes

Reporter:

Lois Hough

FURIOUS residents living next to a 40-foot phone mast say their lives are blighted by diesel fumes and a non-stop droning sound from the structure.

The telecommunications mast and mobile substation were erected at the former Shotton Lane Social Club in April - two months after the club was destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

The structure was installed by Beacon Communications on behalf of mobile phone operator Three as an emergency measure after a previous, less visible one was destroyed in the fire.

Residents have blasted the structure an “eyesore” and now say it is the sound and smell they can no longer tolerate.

A mother-of-three, who lives on Clarence Street, was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph cells in 1991.

She fears her family’s health is at risk because of the fumes from the diesel generator on the site.

“You come out of the house in the morning and it’s like a slap in the face,” she said.

“It’s so strong that it’s like standing at the back of a bus and breathing in the fumes.

“There is a white powder that has appeared on the windows. And you bring the washing in off the line and it stinks of diesel.

“We won’t put up with this anymore.”

Shotton Lane resident Brian McDonald, 69, says he is forced to close his windows at night because of the constant noise it omits.

“It’s like a constant droning sound,” he said.

“We didn’t mind the one before because it looked like a flag pole and we even had a Welsh flag on top.

“It’s the fact they have just plonked it there – it couldn’t have been any close to our homes if they tried.”

The club, which closed its doors last August, was earmarked by the Flintshire Muslim Cultural Society to become an Islamic cultural centre with a mosque.

More than 100 people were forced to leave their homes when a fire swept through the building in February.

The building was later demolished.

Councillor Ron Davies branded the mast an “absolute disgrace” at a meeting of Shotton Town Council.

He will meet with Andrew Farrow, head of planning at Flintshire Council, in the coming days to voice his concerns.

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said the temporary mast does not require formal planning permission and use of the site will be reviewed following the expiry of a six month period.

It is likely that during this period the telecommunications operator will seek to obtain permission for a permanent mast to replace that which was destroyed.

Following complaints to Flintshire Council, noise monitoring was undertaken but found it was not loud enough to warrant action.

The spokesman said: “In May of this year two residents of Shotton Lane complained to the public protection department about noise disturbance from the generator supplying power to the mast.

“Noise monitoring was subsequently carried out inside one of the complainant's properties. However the noise levels did not substantiate the existence of a statutory noise nuisance and therefore no further action can be taken.

“Although there were also complaints of fumes from the generator, public protection officers have not noticed any significant smells in the area when visits have been carried out.”

A Mobile Broadband Network Limited spokesman said: “We were not aware of problems with the bay station but we will look at it now as a matter of urgency.

“If there any faults with it we will replace it. If there is a better kind of generator we can put that in as well.

“We need to provide a temporary replacement for the site because mobile phones don't work without a bay station.

“We are looking for a permanent place and are considering several options in the Deeside area."

See full story in the Leader

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