Double phone mast shock for residents

01 March 2006

PLANNING bosses have admitted they have no record of a second mobile phone mast being built yards from a rival phone company's controversial antenna.

Phone giant Orange confirmed it has already started work to attach an 11.4 metre mast to a wall bordering the railway line behind the former Mitre Pub in Grafton Road, Gospel Oak - now converted into flats.

The announcement comes just three weeks after an administration blunder that left Vodafone claiming it never received Camden Council's objections to a mast it subsequently erected on the pavement in front of the same property.

A spokeswoman for Orange said: "Because of the location of our mast, we do not need full planning approval.

"We wrote to Camden Council on July 13, 2004, about the mast and they had a month to raise any objections to its design or appearance. They did not do that and we are going ahead with the mast."

She said Orange also worked with the freeholder of the flats and Network Rail, the company which owns the land on the other side of the wall, to get permission for the mast. A spokeswoman for Camden Council said: "We have looked through our database and we do not have an application from Orange for that site. Our enforcement team are going to investigate it."

Lecturer and actor Anna Sullivan, of Dale Road, off Grafton Road, said: "It just seems extraordinary that we can have two within a few feet of each other. I can't imagine it would be more than 10 or 15 feet.

"They are unsightly and there are potential health hazards and there has been complete disregard for the people living in the area. How come it's all happening in Gospel Oak?"

The Orange spokeswoman added: "All our sites are built to international safety guidelines for public exposure.

Omega read "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under:

"There is no risk of having two antennae next to each other. Out mast is extremely low powered."

Camden Council planning officers claim they did send Vodafone their objection to its mast in time to stop it going ahead and that as a result it should not have been erected.

The council spokeswoman said: "We are still investigating the Vodafone mast.

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.


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