Network Rail admitted to residents at a meeting at Kingswood Primary School on Tuesday (Jan 18 that they have no intention of stopping plans to erect the 20 metre mast on the edge of Norwood Park. They made it clear that they had come to the meeting only to answer questions but not to investigate other options.
- Network Rail continued to insist that they had tried to consult with residents but were unable to explain why letters delivered in September had never been received by residents. They accepted that not only had they got the postcode wrong but also the spelling of Gipsy Road and that they had described the location for the mast as being Crystal Palace.
- They claim the site is suitable because of the amount of tree coverage. In a letter to Lambeth Council they state clearly that the trees are 10-15 metres high and only a small portion of the mast will appear above this. When pushed, they said they did not know how high the trees were and in any event these fully mature trees would grow to cover the mast! They also seem to be under the misapprehension that a few leaves will be enough to screen this eyesore.
- They admitted that the mast’s location had actually changed from the original plans sent to Lambeth Council. They admitted it had in fact been moved not by 10 metres but by 100 metres. They denied it was therefore possible to move the mast closer to West Norwood.
- There is an analogue communications mast at West Norwood ready to be removed. They claim the Norwood Park mast cannot take its place. They also said it would be viable to have two smaller 10 metre masts but then discounted it because of cost and the inconvenience it would cause them to investigate doing it.
- A resident expressed his concern that construction of the mast could mean a 20% drop in the value of his home. Network Rail’s answer? It’s our own fault for buying property near a railway and we live in an urban environment so should accept construction.