Mast in the belfry?

Feb 16 2006

By Lyndsay Young,
Formby Times

PLANS have been mooted to site a mobile phone mast on a historical Formby church.

The proposal is for a Vodafone base station at Holy Trinity Church in Rosemary Lane.

Residents received letters from QS4 Limited, which installs of masts on Church of England churches for phone companies.

Holy Trinity Parochial Church Council voted in favour of the proposal and wants residents' views before deciding whether to seek permission from the Diocese.

Sheila Grey, secretary of Holy Trinity PCC, said: "It was passed by a majority. As far as I know it would be hidden and would be in the little bell tower."

The church, built in 1889, is situated in the heart of Formby Village and next to residents' homes..

Formby Civic Society has confirmed its opposition to the proposed mast which could be installed by April 2007.

Ray Derricott, amenities secretary of Formby Civic Society, said: "We shall write a letter objecting to the proposal.

"It is in a residential area and we do not want them near children or where people congregate."

The process is at the consultation stage and planning permission would first be sought from the Diocese.

John Swain, head of sales at QS4, said: "The church actually called us. Generally churches are chosen because they are the right height, they are in the centre of the general population and it's a prime location to give maximum coverage.

"If they don't get the right height, they may have to put several lower level small masts in its place."

In its letter, QS4 stated the equipment will not affect the appearance of the building and the church will benefit from the rent.

It gave assurances it would issue a license forcing mobile phone companies to measure emissions routinely.

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