Galway County Council has refused planning permission for Eircom to put up a mobile broadband mast on the outskirts of Athenry.
Eircom Limited sought approval to put up an 18m monopole mast to provide broadband coverage in a field at Caherroyn, Athenry.
The mobile mast would have carried three antennas and dishes for Eir’s local coverage, as well as having room for another operator to located there.
Eir said that the height of structure, finishing at 19.2m overall, was the “absolute minimum” that could be used that meets technical requirements, and would have a line of sight over the surrounding area.
It was also argued in the technical justification that a mast was needed in this location to deal with “inadequate mobile voice and data services” at the edge of Athenry.
“There may confusion as to why a new telecommunications installation is required within North Athenry given Eir’s existing and planned site in Athenry Town Centre,” the planning statement said.
It said that all mobile operators have an obligation to provide “100% coverage” across towns and villages, and that the town centre locations alone would not suffice in Athenry.
In refusing planning permission, the county council said that, based on the information received, it was not satisfied that Eircom had “sufficient legal interest” to access the site.
One submission was received from Iarnród Eireann which said that the level crossing which Eircom proposed to use to access the site, which is owned by CIE, was created for agricultural use by the landowner, and is not suitable for other uses.
The council also stated that the limited access as a result of this would create a road traffic hazard and that the area is at risk of flooding.
Finally, the council said that the land Eircom proposed to build the mobile mast on is zoned residential, and that therefore “if permitted as proposed the development would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.