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Fight to stop 60ft phone mast being built beside Belfast park

By Chris McCullough

A phone mast that would tower almost 60 feet above Belfast's Shore Road is at the centre of a planning battle.

An application to put up the mast was made in September, but residents have rallied round to oppose the structure, which would be erected adjacent to Loughside Park, opposite the Bo Win Chinese takeaway.

Stuart Samuel has lived at the end of Donegall Park Avenue for more than 20 years and is a member of the Loughside Concerned Residents' group.

He said no one wanted to look at a phone mast right that rises 60ft into the sky.

"The applicants have proposed to site this mast right on the pavement beside the bus shelter and in front of our precious Loughside Park," Mr Samuel said.

"This park is used by people of all ages and contains a children's playground. It is not acceptable that people who live or work in the area, or those who use the park, be subjected to radiation emissions that could be harmful to them.

"The mast is said to be 17.5 metres, or almost 60ft high. We don't want to be looking at that eyesore all the time."

Among the objectors to the application from Telefonica UK is North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds.

Representatives of the company, which owns O2, did not respond to a request for comment.

Three years ago locals were successful in opposing plans to build a huge Asda supermarket in the same area.

Mr Samuel pledged they would fight just as hard against the proposed mast.

He added: "In the past we all came together as residents and fought a very hard battle to save that park and greenfield area from being developed into a supermarket.

"We have got together again to fight this proposal. It just seems to be one thing after another in this area.

"What makes things worse is that only six addresses had been informed about the original plan and four of these addresses were non-residential. In fact, two were fast food outlets.

"We were successful in fighting the Asda proposal, and we will try the same again.

"We managed to get around 900 trees in the 10-acre park and surrounding area put under a preservation order to further safeguard the area from development.

"In total we have lodged 70 individual letters of objection to this mast proposal and we will get more.

"No one wants this around here. Not only is it an eyesore and could be harmful to health, it will also potentially lower the value of the houses around here."

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