Gateshead phone tower verdict deferred

CONCERNED: Whitebridge residents Tim and Rhiannon Smith and their daughter Olivia. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

CONCERNED: Whitebridge residents Tim and Rhiannon Smith and their daughter Olivia. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new mobile phone tower in Gateshead will be discussed with residents at a site inspection, after Lake Macquarie councillors voted to defer a decision on whether it should be built.

The prospect of the 37-metre tower being built on Bulls Garden Road has caused a backlash from some residents of nearby Whitebridge, who have made dozens of submissions to the council about its perceived ugliness and health risks.

The tower would improve voice and data services to Optus and Vodafone customers in the surrounding suburbs, council staff have said, but the telcos’ development application was called before the elected council rather than determined under delegated authority.

Staff recommended approving the tower.

Labor councillor Barney Langford campaigned in the last council election opposing the tower, and said Whitebridge residents had grounds to oppose it overlooking their suburb.

“You could put it in the whole suburb of Bennetts Green, where there aren’t children sleeping at night,” Cr Langford said.

“You can see how visually imposing it will be.”

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