Mast crusaders win their case to reject 20m telephone pole on village green

By Harrison Galliven, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents living near a conservation area in Mitcham have welcomed the news that plans to erect a 20m telephone mast and six electronics cabinets on Cranmer Green have been rejected by Merton council.

The plans would have seen the large mast and associated cabinets built in the middle of the historic village green, both of which would provide nearby residents with better EE connectivity.

The protected green is often used for leisure and community events. The area also acts as the nearest green space for a group of vulnerable pensioners who live in flats in Cranmer Farm Close.

In a decision made on Friday, the council cited concerns over the mast’s negative impact on the character of the area as well as its potential impact on the rich biodiversity present on and around the green.

Merton council went as far as to call the plans ‘visually intrusive’ and ‘incongruous’ to the nearby Mitcham Cricket Green area. They added that the benefits to the public would not outweigh the harm it would cause.

Campaigners who fought against the plans have praised the support of local residents as a key reason for the rejection of the plans. According to lead campaigner and resident, Helen Carter, nearly all households living on Cranmer Farm Close, Madeira Close, and in the Cranmer Cottages were involved in the campaign.

Ms Carter said: “It’s really good news and a good decision. I think all the objections that came in made a difference, I believe the council received 61 all in all.”

While celebrating the news, campaigners also fear that an appeal from Waldon Telecoms is inevitable and it’s understood it must be lodged within six months.

Tony Burton, secretary of the local civic society Mitcham Cricket Green Community & Heritage, said: “We warmly welcome the robust rejection of the plans for a 20m mast [but] there is still the risk of an appeal and we are asking Merton council to rule out allowing its land to be used for a mast even if planning permission were to be given.”

Flooding concerns and a lack of proper risk assessment were also listed as reasons for rejection. The council stated: “The proposal, by reason of the absence of a flood risk assessment and its siting in an area identified to be at risk of groundwater flooding, has failed to demonstrate that flood risk is not increased elsewhere.”

Waldon was approached for comment.

Pictured top: Cranmer Green residents met for a lunchtime protest on the Green (Picture: Helen Carter)

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