Phone mast disguised as tree looks like ‘gigantic toilet brush’

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The 25-metre high mast was given planning permission last June by Edinburgh Council, and has been built near Dundas Home Farm in South Queensferry. The proposal had been met with more than 20 official complaints from locals. Efforts to hide the mast with greenery appear to have misfired as the structure fails to even remotely blend in with the otherwise beautiful countryside.

The attempt to blend the mast in with nature was also scuppered by a flashing light on top of it.

One resident described it as “God’s lavvy brush.”

Another added: “Oh dear it definitely looks nothing like a tree and very much like a gigantic toilet brush.”

A resident suggested: “The mast alone would have looked better”.

One appeared to look for the silver lining out of the situation, quipping: “They could put baubles on it at Christmas.”

Complaints lodged against Edinburgh Council raised concerns that the mast would have a “detrimental” impact on the 200-year-old Dundas Castle, which lies a 20-minute walk away.

One objection highlighted that a similar application had been rejected in 2020, with the only difference being the attempt at hiding the mast that has now made it the subject of ridicule.

The objection read: “The application is pretty much identical to the application that was rejected in 2020 by the planning authority other than trying to disguise this mast structure as an extremely tall tree that would seem out of place in the area. It would appear that the height of this mast is considerably taller than existing surrounding trees and would be observed from local properties within the listed area, including the livery and properties within the listed Dundas Home Farm.”

It added that the mast would prove problematic for wildlife around it.

The objection said: “This would have a substantial adverse impact on the surrounding area. There would be an impact on wildlife with bat activity observed in the barn store 40 metres from the proposed site.”

Another objection said the attempt to blend the structure in with nearby trees was rendered useless by the “flashing light on top of the mast”.

The structure is a replacement mast serving both EE and Three’s customers. It was built by Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL).

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A spokesman for MBNL said: “The planning authority accepted the operators’ proposals for a tree-styled mast to reduce the visual impact whilst ensuring critical mobile coverage will continue to be available to customers in the area, and accordingly the design was approved.” has contacted Edinburgh Council for comment.

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