By Majella Loftus
There is widespread dismay in South Mayo after it emerged that a communications company is appealing a decision to refuse planning permission for a controversial mast in the area.
Mayo Co Council refused permission earlier this year to Cignal Infrastructure Ltd for the 24m multi-use lattice communications structure at Cregduff on the Galway Road in Kilmaine. The company hoped the structure would carry antenna and dishes enclosed within a 2.4m high palisade fence compound, which would be accessed by a new road.
Numerous residents and community groups in Kilmaine lodged objections to the proposal, arguing that it was to be located directly across from a family home on the busy N84. The residents claimed the need for such telecommunications structures — as expressed by the company — was untrue.
The council refused the application on the grounds that the mast could lead to traffic problems on a busy secondary route linking Mayo and Galway. It was also argued the new structure would seriously injure the visual amenity of the area. In addition, the local authority said the development might lead to a proliferation of telecommunications structures where possible opportunities for co-location existed in the area.
Joyce Fitzpatrick, who lives with her husband and family across from the proposed site, said the community was disappointed to learn the decision had been appealed to An Bord Pleanála. Cignal lodged submissions to the board on each of the four points of refusal.
“We as a community were very disappointed but not surprised over the appeal. Having already lodged submissions to Mayo Co Council, we put together a further submission on the appeal as we felt the points they raised in the appeal were very incorrect.”
Ms Fitzpatrick said there are no issues with broadband or mobile phone coverage in the area and the project site will only create additional traffic on an already busy route.
“From the start, the community in Kilmaine vowed to fight this application and we will continue to do so until the bitter end. We sincerely hope An Bord Pleanála will send a representative in person to the site to see how inappropriate it is. They are targeting a small rural village on a site which is surrounded by houses and will continue to target other small villages if we let this go ahead.”
A decision is due to be made by December 5 next.