Saffron Walden cemetery could become town's mobile hotspot

PUBLISHED: 09:19 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 09:19 27 October 2014

Saffron Walden Town Hall

Saffron Walden Town Hall

Archant

Saffron Walden's historic cemetery could become the town's mobile hotspot - if a proposal to build a ­telephone mast there goes ahead.

The site was put forward because of its “electrical suitability” and “screening by trees”, according to a spokesman from PHA Communications, who is due to speak to town councillors about the proposal in the next few months.

The earmarked area is in the far right of the Radwinter Road ­cemetery, where there is a large, unused green space.

Saffron Walden town councillor Mike Hibbs expressed concern about the possibility of the mast ­overlooking graves – calling such a move “inappropriate”.

“It depends on where the mast would be,” he said. “If it’s not obvious, I don’t see why it would be a problem – but if it is in an obvious place, I think it is inappropriate.”

If built, the mast would be between 12-15 metres high, and be installed for CTI Limited – the new configuration of the Vodafone and O2 networks. The proposal comes at a time of concern for telecommunications in the town, after network failure left hundreds of mobile phone users without a signal at the beginning of this month.

Speaking at a meeting of the town council’s recreation and playing fields committee on Monday night, where the proposal was debated, Councillor Keith Eden said a cash boost from the erection of a ­telephone mast may help supplement the dwindling funds from burials.

“It might be that if we wish to maintain the cemetery we have to have revenue from matters not ­relating to burial,” he told councillors.

Cllr Hibbs said: “I would feel very strongly if it was in the old part of the cemetary. I think we need to know more about it.”

The committee voted in favour of inviting a surveyor from PHA Communications to discuss the matter further.

Town clerk Simon Lloyd said it was “an extremely emotive and ­delicate matter”, and required a great deal of consideration.

What do you think about a telephone mast being erected in Saffron Walden cemetary? Is it in bad taste? E-mail phoebe.cooke@archant.co.uk.

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