TWO decisions on phone masts in Pontypool were deferred for site visits.

A decision on a 17.5m mobile phone mast in Pontypool was deferred for members of Torfaen council’s planning committee.

Residents living near the site are opposed to the application made by O2 to build a telecommunications mast on land at Wiltan Factory Premises, Estate Road,Pontnewynydd.

Sixty letters of objection were submitted from residents living in 24 properties at Hanbury Road, Merchants Hill and Elled Road and from one industrial premises in Pontypool North Industrial Estate.

Concerns raised include the impact on health, depreciation of the value of homes, visual impact and previous refusals of masts at the site. Pontypool Community Council is also opposed to the plan.

The applicant O2 says the mast is needed to improve coverage to the O2 3G network, which provides high speed internet access and the ability to transfer data for mobile phone users.

The council put off making a decision at a planning meeting on November 11 last year for a site inspection and following the meeting planning officers recommended the application be approved.

Due to the concern expressed by residents about the application, Panteg councillor Norma Parrish requested a second site meeting take place.

The motion was agreed by all members and a date for the meeting is yet to be confirmed.

A separate phone mast application was also considered at the meeting.

The application made by Vodafone is to replace an existing 12m high fork mast, 120 metres away from the proposed O2 mast, on the same road on land at Phoenix Partioning, Pontnewydd Industrial Estate, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool.

Both Vodafone and O2 were advised of the other application and were asked to identify whether the proposed O2 mast could be shared by Vodafone.

Representatives from both parties confirmed that the O2 mast could not be shared due to its slim design.

Due to opposition from residents the committee agreed to defer making a decision until after a site visit at a date to be confirmed.