Mast campaigners go back into battle

Here we go again... Mast campaigners go back into battle

Concerns that a proposed 12 metre high phone mast near homes in Barton Hills could be a health risk have spurred protesters to vow to repeat a battle they thought they had won five years ago.

The latest plans to put a mobile phone mast on the corner of Quantock Rise and Barton Road brought back memories from the last fight, when more than 100 residents campaigned against a One2One mast.

Paul Caris, who lives near the site, said: "We have only a few years ago fought off the erection of one of these masts. The area abounds with children and no one has proved conclusively that these things are not a health hazard.

"In any case, mobile phone reception is excellent, so why is a new mast needed?"

John Edser, who led the Barton Hills Mast Action Group, said: "It's sad for all the kids round here. There's already a transmitter on that corner. We know from last time that the place they want to put it is so close to the nearest house that it was outside the guidelines of the company that wanted to do it. I think it's an outrage what they're trying to do."

Although John is leaving Luton in the near future and will not be able to lead a campaign against the phone mast, he has pledged to support anyone who wants to step into his shoes.

He said the phone company would have to prove that the need for a mast is greater than the amenity harm, which includes the anxiety caused to local residents for their health and welfare.

A letter from Luton Borough Council to those living near the corner where the mast would be sited said that it did not need planning permission, although the council as the local planning authority could object or raise concerns.

A council spokeswoman said: "Our policy is to consult all residents within 150m of any proposed phone mast. But in the majority of cases the mobile phone company already has the legal right to erect a mast. The council does not have the right to refuse.

"Any comments that have been received from Barton Hills residents about the proposed T-Mobile mast will be reported to a council meeting on May 3."

Since the original proposal five years ago, One2One has become T-Mobile.

13 April 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

//www.lutontoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=541&ArticleID=1438697

--------

A council spokeswoman said: "Our policy is to consult all residents within 150m of any proposed phone mast. But in the majority of cases the mobile phone company already has the legal right to erect a mast. The council does not have the right to refuse.

Luton Borough Council making the same mistake that many other Councils have made - there is an urgent need for Local Authorities to be given proper planning advice, preferably not by ECS (Richard Newstead!!)

Sylvia


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