A CHALLENGE to a bid to erect a 30 metre telecoms mast in Quin has come from a local heritage watchdog, who have lodged a strong objection to the development, on the grounds of its archaeological and visual impact.
Quin Heritage Group have made a submission on plans by Vantage Towers to develop the lattice tower mast at Quingardens, a location believed to contain a number of important archaeological sites.
The group have told the Planning Authority that they are “acutely aware” of archaeological remains in the area. A map, included with the objection, highlights a number of of significant sites, which, according to Quin Heritage Group, represent “evidence of ringforts and fulacht fiadh”.
“It is also important to point out a cilín (Children’s grave site) exists close to the proposed mast site that in no way should be compromised,” the objection stated. “We therefore deem it an unsuitable site to erect such a mast.”
The objection, which is one of a number of submissions received before the consultation closing date last Monday, has also raised concern about the visual impact of the proposed mast. “This structure would no doubt have a profound negative visual impact on one of our key tourist roads into our medieval village,” the submission added.
Fresh plans for the mast were lodged in September, after a bid to erect a slightly shorter one at Quinville South was turned down earlier this year by both the Council and An Bord Pleanála. In the current application, Vantage Towers described the new plans as “a further attempt to secure coverage for the high demand for services being experienced in Quin and the surrounding areas”.
The company contended that existing infrastructure is inadequate to meet “current and forecast demand”. Planning documents warned that, “A failure to grant permission would have an enduring negative effect on local mobile phone and broadband service provision as expressed by the local community’s inability to connect wirelessly or to participate in high speed, high-capacity data availability”.
Vantage Towers said the current site is “as far from Quin as technically possible to ensure high quality 4G services”. The application asserted that the fresh application is in line with government guidelines and the County Development Plan. It acknowledged “some visual impact”, but argued that the site is “not unduly obtrusive and is not within a protected area”.
The application argued that the mast project is in line with regional and national development plans, including Project 2040, the National Broadband Plan, the National Planning Framework, Our Rural Future, and the National Development Plan 2018-2027.
The planning documents outlined that securing permission for the mast would “help eliminate coverage blackspots and shall make a significant positive contribution to the benefit of residents, businesses and social enterprises in the surrounding area as well as to the local road network including the regional roads nearby”.
In respect of the the consequences of not securing permission, the application stated that, “Failure to provide these services will have an adverse impact on the local area and its economy for both Vodafone and other operators wishing to take occupation in the future”.
A letter of support from Vodafone was submitted with the application.
Clare County Council has given November 21 as an indicative decision date on the planning application.
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at email@example.com or telephone 065 6864146.