Horse trainer John Oxx in planning row

Horse racing trainer, John Oxx, has become involved in a planning row with a mobile phone company that plans to build a telecommunications mast in Kildare.

Horse trainer John Oxx in planning row

Three Ireland has lodged a planning appeal with An Bord Pleanála, against the decision of Kildare Co Council to refuse planning permission for a 21-metre high phone mast on the grounds of football club, Kildare Town AFC.

Mr Oxx, who operates stables at Currabeg, near the proposed site, was one of a number of parties who objected to the original plans, because of the possible, detrimental impact of the mast on the well-being and training performance of his racehorses.

“There is no evidence to prove that the radiation produced by the mast is not harmful to the athletic performance of racehorses housed in close proximity to it,” he said.

Mr Oxx, who is best-known for training Sea of Stars, the 2009 Derby winner, said it was also inappropriate for a tall structure to be placed so close to the Curragh, which he claimed was an area of national heritage that had several sites of archaeological interest.

Planners on Kildare Co Council refused permission for the phone mast on the basis of its proximity to established equine facilities and its zoning as the National Stud/green belt, whose objective was to protect and enhance the development of established bloodstock uses in the area.

They also ruled that the location of the mast would be too close to existing and proposed residential developments.

“It would seriously injure the residential amenity and depreciate the value of the property in the area,” the council said.

It said it was also seeking to protect the Curragh, which it described as a “unique landscape.”

They ruled that the mast would be contrary to proper planning and sustainable development, under the Kildare County Development Plan, 2017-2023.

In its submission to An Bord Pleanála, Three Ireland claimed the reasons provided by Kildare Co Council for its decision to refuse planning permission for the mast were “unreasonable.”

The company said the local authority had failed to adequately consider the totality of the information it had provided and it believed the development was not contrary to existing plans for Co Kildare and Kildare Town.

It claimed telecommunications structures were listed as “permissible, in principle” under the zoning of the proposed site.

Three Ireland said the local bloodstock and equine industries would benefit from the development and claimed their concerns about the mast were “unjustified.”

It also stated that no current guidelines or policies stipulated that there must be a minimum distance between telecommunication structures and dwellings.

Three Ireland said it had ruled out three other prospective sites in the same locality, because of their proximity to residential areas and stables. Only one other existing base station was potentially suitable to co-locate a mast — 1.5km away, at Round Towers GAA grounds, but it would not provide telecommunications coverage for the northern part of Kildare Town.

Three Ireland said it had simply no other option but to construct a new mast, which was being proposed “only as a last resort.”

It described existing coverage in the area as “sub-optimal.”

Rather than have a detrimental effect on the area, the company said the mast would add to local amenities, through the provision of “high-quality telecommunications and broadband.” An Bord Pleanála will issue its ruling shortly.

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