Mast overshadowing war memorial to be moved

The 17.5 metre mast and component boxes were erected on the pave on Broughton Road, directly in front of an Iona Cross in Rosebank Cemetery.
The 17.5 metre mast and component boxes were erected on the pave on Broughton Road, directly in front of an Iona Cross in Rosebank Cemetery.
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The insensitive positioning of a telecom mast in front of a war memorial has been reconsidered after a network operator admitted its placement was inappropriate.

Approved by the city planning department in June, the 17.5 metre mast and component boxes were erected on the pavement on Broughton Road, directly in front of an Iona Cross in Rosebank Cemetery to the rear of the street.

Edinburgh North and Leith SNP MP Deirdre Brock raised the issue with BT, who bought mobile phone operator EE in 2015.

Ms Brock said: “It was a bit of a shock seeing this huge mast on Broughton Road completely overwhelm the Quintinshill memorial. Its placement there was very insensitive and inappropriate.”

Documents submitted to Edinburgh Council in March showed the mast would offset from the memorial, further along the pavement.

And in approving planning consent the council’s planning department stated the mast was considered as “permitted development” as it did not exceed 25 metres.

But during installation, the pole was erected much closer to the memorial and deemed to “overwhelm” it.

An EE spokesperson said: “Whilst we have the necessary planning permission for the new site, we do appreciate that the siting of the mast is causing concern amongst local residents given its proximity to the war memorial.

“We now plan to relocate it further away and our engineers are working to do this as soon as possible.”

An email to Ms Brock stated that they planned to relocate it further away – approximately 3.5 metres “which will also ensure this more accurately represents the impression provided in the drawings as part of our planning application”.

“I’m glad BT have listened to the concerns and agreed to move the mast a bit further away,” Ms Brock added.

“My office have sought a time scale for the relocation and we’ll keep an eye on things.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Princess Royal attended a ceremony at the Rosebank Cemetery in 2015 to remember the people who perished in the Quintinshill crash, near Gretna on the Border.

The disaster claimed the lives of more than 200 troops, most of whom came from the Leith, Portobello and Musselburgh areas in and around the Scottish capital on May 22, 1915.

The packed train was tansporting First World War troops to Liverpool, where they were due to sail to the frontline of the war in Gallipoli. It collided with a local passenger service. A Glasgow-bound express train then smashed into the wreckage at the Quintinshill signal box, setting off a devastating fire which engulfed the troop train, packed with nearly 500 members of the Leith Battalion of the Royal Scots. The following day, 101 coffins were taken in procession along a route lined with more than 3,000 soldiers for burial in a mass grave at Rosebank Cemetery.