Bellaghy phone reception set to improve

Embargoed to 0001 Friday April 1

File photo dated 19/11/14 of a man using a mobile phone, as research for Citizens Advice has found that mobile phone customers risk being "saddled" with contracts costing hundreds of pounds more than they need to. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday April 1, 2016. Citizens Advice commissioned a mystery shop among mobile phone providers and found major variations on contracts offered to customers. See PA story CONSUMER Mobile. Photo credit should read: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Embargoed to 0001 Friday April 1 File photo dated 19/11/14 of a man using a mobile phone, as research for Citizens Advice has found that mobile phone customers risk being "saddled" with contracts costing hundreds of pounds more than they need to. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday April 1, 2016. Citizens Advice commissioned a mystery shop among mobile phone providers and found major variations on contracts offered to customers. See PA story CONSUMER Mobile. Photo credit should read: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

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Mobile phone reception in Bellaghy is set to improve with the approval of a telecommunications mast with associated equipment on land south east of 6 Main Street in the village.

Mid Ulster Council’s planning committee heard there was one objection to the application for Telefonica UK.

Members were told the objection was raised to the appropriateness of the site, which is one of the lowest areas in the village, and adjacent to residential property on Castle Street, Main Street and William Street.

It is also on land zoned for housing and close to an area of archaeological potential, and a more appropriate site in an industrial zone at Deerpark Road was considered before being rejected.

Other sites were also considered before being discounted for various reasons and the proposed site, which backs on to Bellaghy Wolfe Tones GAC playing fields and training pitch, was considered the best to provide an acceptable level of cover.

The planning committee heard that the Historic Environment Division also considered the site acceptable.

Last summer the council spent £120,000 on improvements in Bellaghy, including £20,000 to upgrade mobile phone coverage, ahead of the opening of the Heaney HomePlace in September.

Mobile reception in the south Derry village has been poor to nonexistent on occasions, and the aim was to bring it in line with the reception enjoyed by neighbouring towns and villages.

The proposed development will see the erection of a 20-metre telecommunications mast, carrying three antennae and two radio dishes and associated works including three equipment cabinets and site compound.