Bristol city councillors to debate 24m Redcatch Park mast after 4,300 people sign petition

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‘I share your frustration in this,’ Bristol mayor Marvin Rees told campaigners

Controversial plans by two mobile phone giants to build a 24-metre mast at a South Bristol park will be debated at full council on Tuesday (June 5).

A petition by campaigners against the proposed siting in the middle of Redcatch Park in Knowle by EE and Hutchison 3G has passed the 3,500-name threshold to trigger a formal discussion at the Bristol City Council meeting.

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Mobile phone network company MNBL has applied to the local authority to install the mast and a compound of supporting equipment at the green space.

The firm, acting for networks EE and Three, says it needs the mast to boost signals in the area because the previous one was removed from the roof of a nearby pub.

But the plans have sparked a huge backlash from residents, with more than 4,300 people signing a petition opposing the idea.

And although the council owns the park, there is a limit to what it can do to resist temporary masts because mobile phone firms have emergency powers to bypass the need for planning consent, and the authority could be taken to court if it refuses permission.

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Redcatch Community Gardens is in Redcatch Park in Knowle.Redcatch Community Gardens is in Redcatch Park in Knowle.
Redcatch Community Gardens is in Redcatch Park in Knowle.

But at a full council meeting in March, where the petition was originally presented, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees indicated that the authority would try to fight the plans.

He told campaigners: “I share your frustration over this. We don’t think the use of emergency powers is appropriate and our lawyers are pushing back on this.

“I have to be careful what I say here because I can’t get caught into a situation where I prejudice a decision and then leave us more vulnerable than we should be.”

A spokesperson for MNBL previously said the temporary site at the park would provide coverage following the loss of its permanent site at The Friendship Inn pub, which was bought by developers.

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At Tuesday’s meeting, petition organiser Sian Ellis-Thomas has up to five minutes to address the 70 city councillors and the mayor, followed by a further 15 minutes of debate in the chamber.

It will then be referred to Mr Rees or cabinet with the views of full council.

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