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Residents slam

PUBLISHED: 06:57 06 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

IDEAS to disguise a mobile telephone mask overlooking an historic small town as a fake tree have been slammed by residents.

Objectors have labelled a mock, 25 metre tall Cypress tree as "visually ridiculous," while an alternative 20 metre, fake dead Elm has been described as an "insult.

IDEAS to disguise a mobile telephone mask overlooking an historic small town as a fake tree have been slammed by residents.

Objectors have labelled a mock, 25 metre tall Cypress tree as "visually ridiculous," while an alternative 20 metre, fake dead Elm has been described as an "insult."

However, planning officials are backing a single, 20 metre, monopole mast for the site near a designated long distance footpath route on the Suffolk-Essex border.

The three alternative designs were submitted by Orange Personal Communications for a site adjacent to the Stour Valley Path near Hermitage Farm, Clare, after St Edmundsbury Borough Council planners objected to an initial scheme based on a more bulky, 20 metre lattice tower with obtrusive headgear.

A report by the planning department into the new options to members says the mock dead tree is essentially the same as that recently erected at nearby Hundon, and not as realistic as had been hoped for. The Cypress tree option is the most convincing, but because of the requirements of antennae, would need to be five metres higher than other designs.

The proposed site is beside a plantation of new trees, and planning officials are recommending members back the monopole option, subject to it being painted green.

Replying to local concerns that mobile phone users from Clare are already well served by a mast at Hickford Hill, planning officials say they accept evidence from the phone company that the existing facility cannot provide a satisfactory service.

The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Countryside Project believes the site is acceptable, and thinks the mock, foliage free tree would resemble a dead elm, a not unfamiliar site in the Suffolk countryside.

However, The Clare Society has objected to any form of mast and describes the false Cypress tree as "visually ridiculous and quite unacceptable."

Twenty-six letters of objection have cited numerous complaints, including safety issues, and an opinion that the dead tree option is an insult.


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