by Kevin Rogers

DENABY parents and schools have been told Doncaster Council is powerless to stop a mobile telephone mast being built next to a popular play area in the village. Doncaster Council planning committee has approved an application by Hutchinson 3G UK Ltd for the siting of a 15m high telecommunication tower at Denaby and Cadeby Miners' Welfare, despite objections from villagers. Dozens of people who signed a petition fearing potential harm to schoolchildren from the mast were told their protests had been in vain at a meeting of the committee at Doncaster's Mansion House on Tuesday. Campaigners were told that planners' hands were tied as Government regulations meant masts under 15 metres did not require prior approval. The mast will be built on the site of an existing floodlight. Denaby resident Keith Drewett, who has collected more than 130 signatures opposing the mast, and Denaby councillor John Mills spoke out against the plans. Mr Drewett said: "I am very disappointed with the decision. I am concerned about the effect this mast could have on the health of local children and residents." He said there was evidence that prolonged exposure to phone mast transmissions within short distances could be dangerous. "We feel there was not enough time to respond to the application – two notices were put up, one on a lamppost and one in a local shop window. Dozens of people have said if they had have known about this they would have signed the petition. "Tickhill Square is a main thoroughfare for four schools, a day nursery, a youth centre and a medical centre. Only one school was notified of this application and the letter was sent as the school broke up for the Christmas holiday and required a response within 14 days," he said. He produced letters addressed to the committee from Balby Street, St Alban's and Fullerton House Schools whose pupils used the play area. Mr Drewett also quoted a resident who lived 100 yards from the mast who suffered from a condition which meant using a mobile phone caused her pain. She was 'extremely alarmed and afraid' of how the transmitter would affect her. Coun Mills said there was a 'genuine fear' in Denaby about the mast and residents felt they had not been given a fair chance to consider the proposal in depth. He asked if Hutchinson could have shared an existing transmitter already in use on Banbury Bridge which was well away from centres of population. A Hutchinson 3G spokesman said the company had looked at other sites which had been either too low or would not have had permission to use them. The mast was more than 100m from the nearest residential property and the mast would be five metres lower than the existing floodlight. The company had demonstrated an installation was required to provide 3G coverage to Denaby Main in line with its licence to provide 80 per cent coverage by 2007.

09 March 2006

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