Local MP's have sided with phone giants against local communities - Northampton Liberal Democrats
LIBERAL Democrats in Northampton have launched a stinging attack on both Northampton MP's for siding with phone company giants rather than residents in a row over the power of communities to stop inappropriately sited phone masts.
Currently, fewer restrictions govern planning applications for phone masts up to 15 metres in height, often making it difficult for councils to refuse permission for controversial proposals. In Northampton there have been many such controversial mast sittings in the past such as at Spinney Hill shops in Parklands, at Weston Favell primary school and at St Mary's Church in Far Cotton.
Liberal Democrats in Parliament recently moved an amendment to the Planning Bill which would have meant applications for phone masts would have required full planning permission and therefore be considered in the same way as applications for new buildings or change of use of existing ones.
But both Northampton's Labour and Conservative MPs did not bother voting at all.
"Sally Keeble and Brian Binley both had the opportunity to side with local communities or with giant phone companies," said Andrew Simpson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Northampton North constituency, "It is extremely disappointing so see that by not supporting this proposal they in effect decided to back the latter.
"The change the Liberal Democrats proposed in the House of Commons would have given residents a fighting chance to stop inappropriately sited phone masts. It would have meant the phone companies would have had to apply for full planning permission in the same way that any other business would need to.
"What is even more remarkable is that the Conservatives actually have a manifesto commitment to introduce this proposal but when there is an opportunity to do so Brian Binley decided not to vote."
Notes for editors
The link to the vote is: http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-06-25&number=234&display=allvotes&sort=name