'Diabolical' prospect

By Sukhi Anand

Children as young as two could be taken out of their nursery and primary schools in Ruislip as fears grow about the construction of a mobile phone mast.

The proposed site for the mast, revealed earlier this month, is on West End Road, next to Ruislip Rugby Club and the Growing Trees Nursery, and near Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary School in Herlwyn Avenue.

Councillor Dougals Mills (Con, Manor) is at the forefront of the campaign to stop the mast from being built.

He sent a letter informing residents in March.

He said: "My children went to Sacred Heart and this mast is bad news for the school, the environment and a disaster for the nursery."

Councillor Mills joined forces with councillors from other parties to write to the mobile phone giants.

He said: "We want to show that we are united against this matter.

"We are hoping Orange will see sense and realise the strength of local opposition."

Teachers, residents and councillors have started a petition and collected 650 names so far.

David Manley, 52, headteacher of the Sacred Heart school, said: "The position they are suggesting for the mast is where we have had a new footpath built as part of our Safer Routes to School project.

"We know there isn't definite medical evidence suggesting masts are unhealthy, but it will cut down visibility in the area so drivers won't be able to see the children."

Omega there is definite medical evidence suggesting masts are unhealthy. See under:

The manager of Growing Trees Nursery, Helen Stoneham, 27, is worried parents will stop using the day care facility if plans go ahead.

She said: "To have something go up here would be diabolical.

"Parents are not happy about the prospect.

"There is nothing that says there is a definite health risk but nothing says there isn't one either."

Orange, the phone company which wants to erect the mast, has been testing opinion in the area.

It was sent a letter from Hillingdon Council's planning department warning that "any installation in this location is likely to be contentious."

Rebecca D'Arcy from Orange's community affairs department, said: "We appreciate that there has been a high level of objection to this mast and we do understand people's concerns.

"Over the coming weeks Orange will consider this feedback when deciding how to proceed with the application.

"Although we understand people's concerns about the health issues surrounding mobile phone masts, there is currently no evidence to suggest ill health despite many years of research."

1:19pm today

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