Fears as phone mast at play area proposed

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk

03 February 2006

Marc Mullen

Residents are going into battle with a mobile phone giant to stop their village green turning orange.

Plans for an eight-metre mast near the junction of West End Lane and Fortune Green Road, in West Hampstead, have been submitted to Camden Council by mobile phone company Orange.

But there are fears it will affect the health of local people, particularly as the site is surrounded by cafes and flats and is less than 50 metres from Emmanuel CE primary school in Mill Lane.

Candice Temple, who lives on the corner of Iverson Road and West End Lane, has already collected a 320-name petition against a similar third generation (3G) mast next to her home.

She said: "It is a shame that this proposed 3G mast is in a popular play area for children, who will be most vulnerable to radio frequency radiation.

"Perhaps it is up to all of us to be proactive and decide whether we really need mobile phones that transmit pictures and can access the internet.

"These 3G phones require the siting of more and more mobile masts as their range is much shorter."

The proposed mast would be next to the public toilets which were closed last year by the council last year and the site would cost Orange nothing as it is on highways land.

Just before Christmas, Orange posted notices on the toilets and sent letters to Emmanuel school, Emmanuel church and local councillors.

In its submission to the council, Orange claimed it received no responses to the posters.

But West Hampstead Lib Dem councillor Flick Rea said: "I wrote to Orange, with profound objections and undertook to convey the school's and the church's objections.

"I would expect the council to look very closely at this application. It is a very busy area and an extremely poorly chosen site.

"From a technical point of view it does not seem to be a good site as there are great big mansion blocks around the green.

"If the council receives no money for the mast there is no advantage to anybody of it being there. Lots of people would prefer toilets to a mobile phone mast."

Rennison Consultants, which acts as Orange's agents in Camden, has just received consent for the firm's 3G mast in Abbey Road.

Roderick Rennison explained that if they used eight-metre 'micro cell' masts instead of 15-metre high 'macro cell' masts more are needed.

He said: "The existing masts must be upgraded at some point but this mast is to provide extra coverage.

"Permission is not easily given - it usually takes several attempts. We do often have to relocate sites before they are passed."

Residents have until February 17 to lodge objections with Camden Council.

marc.mullen@hamhigh.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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