Schoolchildren will be at risk if mast is erected

By Chris Wickham

Residents are up in arms over plans to erect a phone mast at Strawberry Hill Golf Club within 500 metres of two primary schools.

An application has been lodged with Richmond upon Thames Council by telecommunications firm T-Mobile for an 18.65 metre high tower with six antennae.

The proposal has attracted around 50 objections from Strawberry Hill residents.

T-Mobile want to site the mast in the south east corner of Strawberry Hill Golf Club next to the railway line between Fulwell and Strawberry Hill stations.

Derek Newson, of Strawberry Hill Road, said this would put it about 450 metres from St James's RC Primary School, on Stanley Road, and 320 metres from Stanley Infant School, on Strathmore Road, as well as Stanley Junior School which is close by.

In Mr Newson's letter of objection, he said: "Strawberry Hill is designated a conservation area. Part of the reason we chose to live in the area was the view of metropolitan open land.

"The impact that an 18.65 metre tower would have on the environment is completely inappropriate."

Veronica Heffernan, headteacher of St James's also lodged an objection with the council expressing concerns. She said: "I am very anxious to read about the installation of a telephone mast at Strawberry Hill Golf Club.

"I am aware of concerns regarding these masts and the health of children. I do not think it is at all appropriate to have these within the vicinity of any primary school."

Hilary Bower, headteacher of Stanley Infant and Nursery School, also lodged a formal objection on behalf of the school and governors.

In its supporting statement T-Mobile said other options were considered before an application was lodged for the golf course site and no other was suitable.

It said the site was in need of another mast as at present there is a shortfall in T-Mobile coverage. The statement also cited evidence from a report published by the Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones, known as the Stewart Report.

It said: "The balance of evidence indicates there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of the guidelines."

Omega read "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under:

A Richmond Council spokesperson said the application was ongoing and no date had been set for a decision.

He said anyone with concerns should write to Connor Corrigan in the development control department at the Civic Centre.

12:48pm today

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