Victory for campaigners as plans for mast in Redcatch Park scrapped

Residents protesting against the mast showing the area of the park it would take and above a demonstration with local people and their dogs. Pictures Ben Skingley.

Campaigners have been celebrating following the news that plans for a temporary 24ft mobile phone mast in a well-loved Knowle park have been withdrawn.

Thousands of residents signed a petition and took part in two protests this year to fight proposals from EE & Hutchinson 3G UK Limited to install telecommunications equipment on a temporary basis in Redcatch Park.

The 5g mast would have been sited close to Redcatch Community Centre and a children’s play area.

MBNL which submitted the application to Bristol City Council said the temporary site was to provide coverage following the loss of a permanent site at The Friendship Inn public house in Knowle.

A decision was due to be made at a land tribunal on Friday but the operators withdrew saying they would prefer to “explore alternative options” for a permanent and/or temporary site “in the vicinity of the premises.”

Residents Against the Mast is a community action group formed earlier this year by Sian Ellis-Thomas and Lesley Powell to campaign against the plans. The pair say the victory is a big win for the community.

Sian said: “Lesley and I have worked so hard on this campaign but the result makes it all worthwhile. All we ever wanted was local sanity to prevail over corporate expediency. This mast never had to go in the park! …

“We couldn’t have done this campaign without the support of the community…”

“We couldn’t have done this campaign without the support of the community turning up to events and chivvying us on with messages of encouragement.

“The number of people who stopped us in the street to say thank you was pretty amazing. It’s a real demonstration of what can be achieved when a community comes together to speak truth to power and demand to be listened to…”

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said on Twitter he welcomed the decision of the withdrawal, thanking all those who had campaigned, and attached a letter he had written to CEO of EE Limited Marc Allera

Bristol City Council is now working with the operators to find another suitable location within the area.

A spokesperson for MBNL said: “When sites need to be relocated, we always endeavour to find permanent solutions as quickly as possible but where circumstances prevail we work with the Local Planning Authorities to deploy temporary equipment so that the network services can be maintained, and those residents and businesses that rely upon EE and Three remain connected. 

“We will continue to work closely with Bristol City Council and the Planning officers, as well as the local community during this process.”