Families take on phone mast threat

DAVID POWLES
02 March 2007 09:13

Families living in the city centre are hoping people power will scare off a mobile phone company which wants to put a mast yards from a school.

Phone company Hutchison 3G has written to bosses at Bignold First and Middle Schools, in Wessex Street, informing them of its intention to set up a 15-metre mast just 75 yards away on the corner of the nearby Jenny Lind Park.

However, parents, councillors and school governors are hoping to fend off the application before it even reaches the planning stage.

A petition has already been placed in the school corridors and dozens of parents have shown their objection amid fears that health risks caused by such masts are still unknown.

David Moon, chairman of both schools' joint board of governors, said today: “We have mixed feelings about this because the research into the health risks has proved inconclusive.

“Governors are against the proposal because of the unknown impact and parents have already been expressing their concerns to us. We are also concerned to know why the phone company has chosen this site when it is so close to a school.”

Chris Hull, county councillor for the Town Close ward, said: “I would be very concerned about a mast near the school and on the edge of a park as it is in a wholly inappropriate location. Masts cannot be refused for health reasons but there is also the fact that this will be an eyesore.

“What concerns me is when you speak to mobile phone companies they say the reception in Norwich is great, so if that is the case why do they need to keep constructing more masts?”

A letter from the phone company to Mr Moon said studies show mobile phones were unlikely to have an adverse affect on people's health.

It said: “Our proposal to site a base station at this location is in order to meet local demand for 3's services and this area of Norwich currently has poor coverage.

“We looked at of 27 other sites in this area. These were rejected for several different reasons.”

Campaigners are hoping for the same success as that which convinced council bosses to throw out plans for a mast on Grove Road.

T Mobile were told to axe proposals for a 12m mast on near a parade of shops after more than 100 people signed a petition against it.

The Evening News has fought against the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe through our Put Masts on Hold campaign.

What are your views on phone masts? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters @archant.co.uk of log on to http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/forums

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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