A CONTROVERSIAL proposal to erect a telecommunications mast in Ballinakill has been withdrawn.
Three Ireland (Hutchinson Ltd.) had submitted a planning application with Waterford City & County Council for a development at Ballinakill Shopping Centre on the Dunmore Road consisting of an 18-metre high shrouded monopole telecommunications support structure carrying antennas and transmission dishes with associated ground-based equipment cabin and cabinet and security fencing. In its application, Three said the installation was intended to replace the existing flagpole at roof level which accommodates their equipment providing services to the area. The company said it was not possible to upgrade the flagpole to house the required new technologies so a proposal for a free standing, slimline, shrouded structure was being proposed.
Three said the proposed site was “the best solution” to provide a satisfactory level of service to the residents and businesses in and around Ballinakill and on the Dunmore Road R684. More than 70 concerned locals attended a meeting held at Oskars last week which was organised by Ballinakill Downs Residents Association at which vehement opposition was expressed to the proposal. Concerns centred around a number of issues including health and safety fears, aesthetic impact on the area, potential impact on value of homes, and the possible detrimental impact on further investment in the area. A health facility and crèche are located in the surrounding area. In addition to last week’s public meeting, a private meeting of the residents association had recently taken place to discuss the matter with local political representatives Cllr Eddie Mulligan (FF), Cllr Davy Daniels (Ind) and Cllr Adam Wyse (FF). A spokesperson for the residents association welcomed the decision to withdraw the application and thanked local Councillors, in particular Cllr Eddie Mulligan for his ongoing support.
Cllr Mulligan, who attended last week’s public meeting, said he also welcomed the decision to withdraw the application.
“Personally, living in close proximity, I had reservations that a potential granting of this planning without clarification of further information and limitations into the future use would not be in, or serve, the best interests of the community,” he said. Cllr Mulligan pointed out that the Ballinakill Shopping Centre is the main Neighbourhood Centre for the location zoned General Business under the Waterford City Development Plan (2013-2019).
“We all felt that the Council must ensure that there is a good mix of suitable commercial and community services on the site,” he said.
“The residents, business owners and I were also seeking assurances that the potential location and design of the ground works would not deter or prohibit future development of commercial or community facilities at the location. In addition, a lot of people, including myself, felt that research reviewed showed higher rates of illnesses and cancers in those living near mobile masts and base stations. We were also worried that the application did not deal with the Health & Safety Radiation Impact implications or provide the necessary analysis providing unconditional health reassurance.”
He said the attendance at last week’s meeting was “a huge show of local dismay and anger at the fact that the applicants were not willing to engage with the local and neighbouring communities by means of a public information/consultation event to answer and allay all fears.”
“It is a relief for all that this application has been withdrawn by the applicants,” he said.