Go-ahead for hall mast plan

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A Fife Council decision to prevent a mobile phone mast being built at a scout hall in Kirkcaldy has been overturned by the Scottish Government.

The planning application, which requested a 12.5 metre high telegraph pole to be put in at the Scout hall on Glenbervie Road at Dunnikier Estate, was refused in February by Fife Council on the grounds of visual amenity, saying the mast would have an unacceptable effect on the open public space and residential area.

At the time of its submission in August 2010, the application for the 3G mast, by Vodafone and O2, attracted dozens of objections, with almost 60 comments online asking for its refusal on visual and health grounds.

Kirkcaldy north community council secretary Kenneth Millar told the Press the feeling in the community was one of disappointment.

He said: “When we had the public meeting the overwhelming feeling was that the residents wanted the plan refused.

“The local councillors listened and they rejected it, but once it has gone to the appeal stage it is judged only on planning aspects and therefore it’s very difficult to go against that.

Disappointed

“I can understand why the Scouts may have wanted it to go ahead, but I am disappointed.”

The 14th Fife (Dunnikier Estate) Scout group, which operates from the hall, had welcomed the application as it would mean much needed funds for the group through land rental.

Derek Dunsire, Group Scout Leader of the 14th, said: “Our group was approached by Vodafone with a proposal to site a phone mast on land owned by the group.

Scrutiny

“Having considered the matter in great detail the Group Executive Committee concluded that it would not oppose the proposal as it would be subject to rigorous scrutiny by the planning authorities.

“The 14th Fife Scout Group is run entirely by volunteers and provides challenge and adventure to over 80 young people from our local community.

“The group is indebted to the members of its executive committee and leaders who work tirelessly, with the support of parents, to ensure that the resources are found to maintain a safe meeting place for young people and to develop opportunities for more young people to join and enjoy Scouting.”