Bid to squash Orange mast plan for school

26 January 2006 RESIDENTS are urging a mobile phone company to scrap plans to install a mast near a school.

Bosses at Orange are planning to install a mast near Bedonwell Junior School in Bedonwell Road, Belvedere.

But residents, who have formed an action group called Orange Squash, are urging the phone giants to think again.

Orange has had a mast there since 1995, but their new plan is to remove it to a new site just 100 yards from the school.

Resident Alan Eaton, of Bedonwell Road, the driving force behind Orange Squash, has persuaded 200 people to sign a protest petition.

He said: "They want to move their mast further down the road. Years ago they told us the children would not be harmed if the mast was above them as fewer radio waves are emitted below the mast. They said they would if the mast was next to them - but this is what they are doing now."

Fellow resident Nicholas Pauli, of King Harolds Way, Bexleyheath, said: "I can't believe a phone mast and cabins could be built at Bedonwell Road, close to the school, not to mention the health risks and possible devaluation of the properties caused by this unsightly structure.

"It is extremely irresponsible and shows a complete disregard for concerns of parents and residents. I totally object to any more masts near schools or residential areas. There are already too many in the area."

Orange spokeswoman Jacqueline Sibander said the process was at an early stage. She added: "Orange has been asked to move it off the school grounds and is therefore looking for a replacement site. As the technology is very low powered, to provide coverage in area the base station has to be nearby. So any replacement for the school site will have to be in the area.

"We are going through the consultation period now and have spoken to representatives from Orange Squash, the school and other residents."

She was unable to say if a planning application would be submitted. "These are just the proposals at the moment.

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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