Galway City Council has refused planning permission for Eircom to build a mobile mast in the midst of a Knocknacarra housing estate.
Eircom sought planning permission to retain a concrete foundation structure at the Eir Exchange in Drom Oir, Knocknacarra, and raise a 12m mobile mast with an antenna and ground equipment.
The proposal was heavily opposed by local residents, with 26 submissions received by the city council, raising objections that the mast would detract from the visual amenity of the area, affect property prices.
Objectors also argued that there are hotels and other tall buildings in the area which would be better suited as a location for any mast, and that there is no coverage deficiency in the area which would call for one in any case.
Councillor Donal Lyons was among those who objected to the proposal, stating that “There is one important fact in this planning application which cannot be overlooked, the location is within a heavily built up residential area.”
“Unlike proposed locations of masts in rural areas, there is no doubt that this mast will be totally out of character of the area, injurious to the amenities already enjoyed by the residents of Droim Oir, Leitir Burca, Cluain Dara, and Carigeen”.
He said that the roughly 226 homes in the area have a “fundamental right” to enjoy the recreational areas in their estates, which would be affected.
In the Technical Justification of the planning application, Eir argued that a site at Ballymoneen West was needed for the continuing rollout of their 3G and 4G networks, both for the neighbourhood, and surrounding rural areas.
In refusing permission for the mobile mast, the city council said that the scale and height of the mast, right next to a mature housing estate and communal area, would not be appropriate.
The mast would be a “visually obstructive feature, detracting from the existing high quality environment, visual amenities, and the existing built form at this location”.
Allowing it to go ahead would, therefore, be contrary to the “proper planning and sustainable development” of the area.