Unholy row over mobile masts in church’s grounds

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk
24 March 2006
Katie Davies

HAMPSTEAD Garden Suburb parents have declared war on a church for allowing three mobile phone masts to be built on its grounds.

The group began its campaign outside Holy Trinity Church, East End Road, on Saturday handing out leaflets and holding up placards.

Avril Hollings, who has three children at Brookland School, Hill Top, said: "There is a feeling in the local community that the vicar isn't interested in what we think.

"The Stewart Report [into mobile mast radiation] said children were more vulnerable to radiation and we don't want to take the risk over health issues."

The church's vicar Rev Lawrence Hill wrote to residents in April 2005 about the masts.

An application was rejected by Barnet Council last year but a new plan has just been submitted, with the applicant claiming no other sites are as good as the church.

Bob Owens, who lives nearby, said: "He wrote to us originally seeking our views on the mast. He obviously took our views and didn't take a blind bit of notice.

"We have spoken to him about it and we have all written to him but he doesn't answer a single one of us.

"I can't see how it is ethical for a church to take the slightest risk over people's health.

"The church has a tiny congregation and it is rather dwindling. When we were protesting there were 28 of us and only 18 members of the congregation going in.

"The whole plan has been inspired by the vicar himself - he has decided it is an easy way to generate money for the church."

Residents and parents have also written to the Bishop of Edmonton to complain.

The Diocese was unable to comment.

Earlier in the week another group of parents from the same school defeated a Vodaphone mast application.

Led by Nicole and Jonathan Gerber from Morris Walk, the group convinced councillors to throw out plans for a mast on nearby East End Road on Thursday.

The application for a 9.4m antenna and an adjoining cabinet was dismissed by the council's planning committee after they heard parents' views.

Speaking at the meeting, father-of-three Mr Gerber said to councillors: "You can't simply ignore mass opposition to this application. There will be a loss of enjoyment for parents sending children to these schools. The cabinet would be an invitation for graffiti. It will be detrimental to the amenity of the local area."

katie.davies@hamhigh.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

//tinyurl.com/symxh

--------

I note from today's press that the vicar of All Saints Church in St Paul's Walden, Hertfordshire, has been 'interviewed' by his bishop and has, subsequently, apologised to his congregation for allowing scenes of the appalling programme 'Footballers' Wives' to be filmed in his church for the princely sum of £2000.

The word 'hypocrisy' immediately springs to mind. So elements of the Church abhor any association with a 'tacky' television series in which serial adultery and the most appalling behaviour is 'de rigueur', yet endorse on Church land and buildings UMTS installations providing pornography to children.

My case rests.

David


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