O2 back down in phone mast row

SARA HARDMAN
14 March 2006 10:04

Families have breathed a collective sigh of relief after a telecommunications company pulled out of plans to build a mobile phone mast right next to a planned primary school.

Communications company O2 had submitted plans for a 12.5m mast with ground-based equipment in Dussindale Drive, Thorpe St Andrew.

The choice of site caused outrage among people living in the area as it was just yards from a plot of land at Vane Close, off Dussindale Drive, earmarked as the site for a new £4 million 420-pupil primary school.

But today a spokeswoman for Broadland District Council confirmed they had received a letter from the agent working on behalf of O2 to withdraw the application.

Roy Francis, 52, from Vane Close, who started a petition against the mast, said he was delighted: “Common sense prevails,” he said. “And thank you to the Evening News for raising it because when I went round with a petition it was frightening the amount of people who had no awareness of it at all.”

Mr Francis, who works as an aircraft engineer, said he collected 175 signatures against the mast from neighbours in just a couple of streets alone.

“Knocking on doors on a cold winter's night I was amazed at the level of support. Obviously I'm delighted, but I suppose the essence of it is you can't believe it would have gone ahead. There would have been an outcry.”

Another person relieved the mast will not be going up near to the school is Dr Ian Gibson, Norwich North MP. Last month, the Evening News reported how families living near to the site of the proposed mast reacted with anger and disbelief that it could be put anywhere near a school.

Experts have warned of a radiation risk to the brains of young children caused by radiowaves from mobile phone technology with the signal strongest between 50m and 200m from the masts.

The Evening News has campaigned against the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe through our Put Masts on Hold campaign.

A spokeswoman for O2 said: “We will be withdrawing this site because there will be a school built in that area. We've consulted with the council and they've informed us it won't be an appropriate site.”

However, the spokeswoman said the company would now be looking for an alternative site in the area.

Are you battling a mobile phone mast application where you live? Telephone Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on (01603) 772439 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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