On the 17 March 2018 many mobile phone subscribers in the M27 area were surprised to find that their mobile signal had gone from medium to strong. Instead of having to wander from room to room, or even having to go outside, they had a constant signal, all over the place.
The reason for the increased signal was that Vodafone had erected three new antennas on an aerial pole attached to the rear gable wall of Swinton Masonic Hall.
The top of the antennas are 14.5m above ground level and 4m above the roof ridge level. The Hall roof is the highest point for some distance and on a clear day the Welsh borders can be seen in the distance.
Special steelwork had to be installed within the roof space to ensure that the aerial pole would be sufficiently braced to withstand gale force winds.
The aerial is connected by BT Openreach fibre optic cables to three service cabinets at ground level, having their own independent electricity supply.
Negotiations with Vodafone began fifteen months ago, although the ten year negotiated lease has not yet been signed, owing to a new Communications Act and Code of Practice being introduced by the government last December.
The Masonic Hall have just received full planning permission for a new rear extension and the aerial had to be installed using a crane and large mobile elevated work platform, within the area designated for the building works. The works will now commence early April 2018 and will provide a new function room and a private meeting room.
Pict 1: Vodafone antenna on top of Swinton Masonic Hall roof.
Pic 2: Electrical control box for antenna.
Pic 3: Swinton Masonic Hall.
Article by Tony Edden and photographs by Tom Fredrickson.