Spark has apologised to residents and agreed to look at alternative sites for a controversial cellphone tower in Havelock North.

Construction at the existing site on Te Mata Rd, immediately adjacent to 1 Durham Dr has been put on hold, but Spark said it will not rule out restarting.

Signs in protest of a cell tower on Te Mata Rd, adjacent to 1 Durham Dr. Photo / File.
Signs in protest of a cell tower on Te Mata Rd, adjacent to 1 Durham Dr. Photo / File.

On Thursday, a small group of residents, along with Hastings District Councillors; Damon Harvey and Malcolm Dixon met with three Spark representatives to discuss their concerns around the placement of the tower and the fact they believe proper consultation was not had.

Harvey said the meeting was "incredibly positive" and the outcome is "great" for the community.

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"What was good is that both parties were open to solutions rather than bunkering down completely."

He said Spark admitted that they got their consultation wrong and realised that they needed to do "broader or better consultation" with other residents.

"They've apologised for the way it has been handled for sure and there was a willingness to work to a solution."

Durham Dr resident Stephen Fookes said that while there was a "way to go" before a final decision was made, he believed the meeting was "constructive", and had a "positive outcome".

"I think they accepted the reality that the communication wasn't as it should have been and that caused the very strong reaction from the residents in the area.

"Had there been better communication, it probably wouldn't have been that reaction."

If the current site is chosen, Spark will look at an alternative design of the 3.5m antenna on top of the 10m light post.

A Spark spokeswoman said they acknowledged that more residences near the site could have been notified and has agreed to review its procedures in relation to this.

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"During the meeting, community members suggested a few alternative locations for the cell tower.

"Although a couple of the suggestions have already been ruled out as unsuitable for a cell site, Spark is pausing work on the roadside adjacent to 1 Durham Drive and will begin assessing an alternative site for suitability in the near future.

"The site immediately adjacent to 1 Durham Drive has not been ruled out as a potential site while we assess the suitability of the alternative site," she said.

It is understood three sites were tested by Spark before they agreed upon 1 Durham Dr.

However, they were found to be unsuitable as one was on private property, and the other was in close range to trees.

Dixon said: "I am delighted at the way Spark were open-minded and explained the situation and why they selected that particular site."

The residents' action group will meet to explain the options at a meeting with the wider resident group as soon as they have the appropriate information from Spark.