East Belfast Alliance Assembly Member Cllr Naomi Long has welcomed progress towards getting the proposed Vodafone mast on the Old Holywood Road relocated to a site within Belmont Park, following a recent decision by the Parks and Amenities Sub-committee allowing its relocation within Belmont Park.
The mast is one of a number of contentious mast proposals across east Belfast, which Naomi Long believes are in inappropriate locations, and which she has been working to try to get addressed since last summer, following a rash of phone mast applications associated with the roll-out of new technology.
Cllr. Long said, “The proposed mast site on the Old Holywood Road is just a short distance from an existing mast, on a prominent position on the roadside and would be yet another eyesore for local residents.
“I would much rather this mast was not going in this area at all; however, it became clear relatively early on that the Planners were unlikely to refuse the application. Since then, I have been working hard with Vodafone and within Council to get the mast relocated within Belmont Park. Whilst this won’t address the concerns of some residents in relation to the health effects of masts, it would at least be less obtrusive.
“At the recent Parks and Amenities Sub-Committee it was agreed that, subject to certain conditions, the Council would permit Vodafone to locate the mast within Belmont Park. This still needs to be ratified by the parent Committee and full Council; however, most Councillors appeared willing to try and do what they could to assist the local residents. Vodafone have also indicated willingness to relocate and I will be keeping the pressure up on them to do so.
“When the existing mast was proposed, at the junction of Cairnburn Road and Old Holywood Road, a similar effort was made to have it relocated into the Park but on that occasion the phone company in question let the Council and residents down badly, by refusing to follow through on their commitment. I hope that Vodafone will show more good will and consideration for local people and potential customers by working constructively with the Council to address their concerns.”