A community consultation on a proposed a communciations base station in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ near Draperstown is planned for this Thursday evening.
He said: “It is most important that residents take the opportunity to make their views known regarding a proposal to develop a shared electronic communications base station at land 200 metres north of 6 Glenviggan Road.
“We must remember that the proposed site is designated as an area of high landscape sensitivity and is located within the Sperrin Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“I am pleased to have secured this important community consultation which will have representatives of the Harlequin Group make a presentation on behalf of the applicant.
“The proposal is part of Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), a publicly funded initiative that seeks to remove ‘not spots’ in rural areas where mobile phone coverage is currently non-existent. The MIP project is government funded as it aims to correct a market failure in supply. MIP has a budget of £150million to build base station infrastructure that will deliver coverage improvements to selected not spots.
“The project will be in 2015/2016,and we are told that it will provide a one-off opportunity to address the disadvantages affecting communities without access to mobile coverage. Aqiva Ltd are advising that if this opportunity is missed, the ability to eradicate the not spot in this area will be lost, in all probability forever, further compounding the rural economy and divide.
“It is proposed to develop a shared base station comprising: a 15 mm high lattice tower; six attennas and two 0.6m diameter dishes attached to the tower; six equipment cabinets at ground level; a compound secured by timber close boarded fencing, a small new type 1 access track.”
Councillor McGuigan stressed: “the local community must be fully involved in all stages of the planning process” and that “their views must be taken fully into account by planning officials.”