STOP PRESS – Friday 18 Feb 2011 - Join our STOP THE MAST Facebook Campaign

Network Rail equipment cabin - road safety hazard

We hear Network Rail have moved their crews up north and are temporarily halting work in Cornwall…………. But we are not running out of steam! We raised questions at Cabinet Council meeting on Tuesday. Portfolio Holders for Planning and Transport are ”shocked” to see the photos of what is happening at Sandplace Station. Legal opinions being sought.

Onsite visit from Highways regarding road safety issues created by the placement of this gross equipment cabin which obstructs the views of motorists travelling north on the B3254 heading towards a narrow bend over a walled bridge (a 60 mph road with no footpath).

So it’s OK to look after your passengers on the train is it Network Rail but when they exit your station, you don’t care if they get run over by a car?? School children and regular bus users stand here and have to step out into the path of oncoming traffic to cross the road or flag the bus down……….. 

We also met with the Campaign for Rural England and received phone calls from residents in Calstock who are just beginning to learn that masts are going up along the Tamar in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a World Heritage Site.  Where are the planning rules to protect us?? If you love the countryside, and treasure all the assets we have in rural Cornwall, please show your support on our  STOP THE MAST Facebook campaign. 

Friday 4 Feb 2011
A breakthrough was achieved at today’s meeting Friday 4 Feb. Who would have thought a little community like Sandplace could stop Network Rail in its tracks!! But yes, after a well presented argument by local residents and with the backing of MP Sheryll Murray, and support of Councillors Armand Toms and Richard Pugh, we’ve succeeded in getting Network Rail to agree to a temporary stop on any further work on the Sandplace Mast until the matter is taken up with the Secretary of Transport.  

At Perranwell the mast appeared “out of the blue”

  

It’s still a tough battle as we’re challenging Network Rail’s interpretation of an EU directive! But if a Portsmouth pub landlady can convince European legal opinion that Sky has no legal right to stop people using cheaper non-UK decoders to watch the footie on the TV, then the residents of Sandplace can take on Network Rail. A small victory for democracy today. But we’ve only won the battle – not the war…………..    

Please like our Facebook page STOP THE MAST AT SANDPLACE and share with your friends.  Thank you.  

Like our Stop the Mast at Sandplace Facebook page: 

I don’t write my blog as often as I should and the last one was about the wonderful Steam Train event in September on the Looe Valley Line.   How tragic today that I am writing about the erection of an 82 foot communications mast which is being built as we speak at Sandplace Station to deface our lovely valley.   How would you like to wake up to find Network Rail have started work on erecting an 82 foot communications mast towering into the sky with no warning of any kind? 

Sitting next to a scenic single track branch line in South East Cornwall, our little community at Sandplace is fighting the imminent arrival of a 25 metre communications mast being erected as we speak by Network Rail yards from our homes – a metal latticed column towering 82 feet into the sky, news of which only became known to local residents following a passing conversation with the onsite construction team last week. Network Rail have blamed an administrative error for  not consulting or informing us but sadly, press articles from across the country show similar experiences of riding rough shod over local residents as Network Rail have used stealth tactics to roll out 2200 masts as part of their Rail Communication System - part of an EU directive to improve communication and avoid high speed train collisions. 

The Looe Valley Line – a single train travelling at 30 mph on a single track – yes and I can hear many of you saying with a single passenger on board!! You may well ask ‘What about planning permission?’ Well Network Rail apparently can legally bypass all planning processes (and public consultation) by flouting the privilege they enjoy under their Permitted Development Rights.   How relevant can this project be to our lovely Looe Valley line? How much government money (our money) is being squandered on this communication technology on a scenic single track branch line with a 30 mph limit, marketed as the ‘Scenic Looe Valley Line’ while we are all being told to tighten our belts at a time of spending restraint? 

We have gone to the Secretary of Transport to try and stop Network Rail in its tracks but as I write this,  they work into the night under arc lights to steam roll ahead in order to place this carbuncle on our beautiful Looe Valley – designated an Area of Great Landscape Value – and complete it before we can do anything about it! Please join our Facebook campaign. And halt this! 

 Network Rail has finally agreed to attend a meeting on Friday and we are still hopeful to get the site repositioned or better still, common sense will prevail and the logic of implementing this EU directed technology on this line will be considered with cost efficiency in mind rather than blind implementation!