Phone 'mast-ers' of deception fail to convince protesters

Feb 21 2006

MOBILE phone giant Vodafone wants to disguise a 36-foot high radio mast as a wooden telegraph pole - and paint it green - in a bid to appease protesters.

But neighbours in Dark Lane, Tilehurst, say it will still be an eyesore and pose a threat to their children's health.

The company had an appli-cation for a mast on the same site turned down last year after West Berkshire Council received a 105-signature petition and 21 letters complaining it would be incongruous in a residential area.

But its revised application lops 35 inches off the original height and guarantees the mast will resemble standard telegraph poles in Dark Lane - and be coloured green to blend in with the trees.

Ruth Harding, a 40-year-old nursery nurse, whose Prince William Drive home backs onto the site, said: "Every time I sit out in the garden I am going to see it there.

"I wish they could just put it somewhere that is less obtrusive."

Neighbour Sarah Blake, a 35-year-old housewife, said: "It is just a worry and I am particularly concerned for the safety of my children because you just don't know what damage the mast can cause.

"I also have a nephew in remission from leukaemia and we just wouldn't risk bringing him here when even the doctors are of the opinion that the radiation could do him harm."

The application was discussed last week by members of the West Berkshire Council's eastern area planning committee, who objected to the plan.

Tilehurst Parish Council chairwoman Jean Gardner said: "We don't see what has changed since the previous application. The pole would still be the focus of people's bedroom windows."

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2006

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