Anti-mast campaigner council bid

27 April 2006

A MAN who is urging a mobile phone company to scrap plans to install a mast near a school is standing as an independent candidate in next week's elections.

Gary Cripps, a member of action group Orange Squash, has announced his plans to stand in the Lesnes Abbey Ward to 'give the people one voice'.

The 31-year-old salesman is standing in the elections in the hope of stopping more masts being installed near schools and hospitals.

The father-of-two locked horns with mobile phone giant Orange earlier this year, when they announced plans to install a mast near Bedonwell Junior School, Bedonwell Road, Belvedere.

He said: "It is not because we are a political group, but despite collecting thousands of petitions, large corporations and the government refuse to listen to the concerns of our communities.

"We believe the only way we can truly force the ear of governing bodies or organisations impacting our local environment is to voice our own, and our neighbours concerns, at the forthcoming local elections."

Mr Cripps also believes mobile phone companies should be made to pay for the use of the mast and not the taxpayer.

He added: "One of the main philosophies of Orange Squash is true cost of ownership. This means that the owners [of masts] and users should pay for all the costs and not the local residents."

Mr Cripps also expressed concern over the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge and the Belvedere Incinerator.

Orange is currently in a consultation period with members of Orange Squash and other residents over the proposed mast in Bedonwell Road.

Bosses at Orange are yet to decide if a planning application will be submitted to Bexley council.

Resident Alan Eaton, the brainchild behind Orange Squash, recently submitted a 200-signature petition to bosses at Orange.

For more details view //www.orangesquash.org .

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

//tinyurl.com/h86vk

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Maybe we should all consider forming an Independent Anti mast campaign group for the next election. I feel completely the same as Gary, I was extremely disappointed as not one Sutton Coldfield Councillor attended SCRAM's AGM meeting on Friday, despite sending out invitations to all of them, what level of commitment does that show?

Good luck to Gary Cripps in this forth coming election, I wish he was standing for the local councillor's election here as he would certainly get my vote.

Eileen O'Connor
SCRAM (Seriously Concerned Residents Against Masts)
//www.scram.uk.com

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I think it is great that someone is prepared to stand on this ticket. However, I have to say I don't hold out much hope for him to have very much influence, even if he is successfully elected.

Here in Burnley , we recently held a well attended public meeting. One Councillor, who is a member of the Development Control Committee, spoke from the audience, to express her belief that more precaution was needed in the planning process and that no masts should be placed close to Schools, Hospitals or Residences. She later told me that she had been told that by declaring her interest at a public meeting she had barred herself from considering any future mast planning applications. It seems that it is OK to vote if you support the idea of placing masts anywhere, but barred if you object. Further, Councillors in a particular ward, where a mast application is pending, cannot speak to a colleague who is on the Development Control Committee about that specific mast, as that would be considered to be lobbying. So much for democracy !

Incidentally, I heard some time ago that when John Prescott accepted the money for 3G licence fees and gave the operator three years to provide 80% coverage to the UK, he also said, albeit covertly, that during that 3 years they would have a virtual carte blanche to place masts where they wanted, but after then, the rules would be tightened. This places the Government in a position where they dare not change the rules or they would have the operators claiming their money back. Money that has already been spent. This would also explain why the Minister talked out the Curry Private Member's Bill in March.

Dennis Cannon



I had this from our council too about declaring an interest. This was Chris Maile's response:

'This story has circulated quite a bit lately and of course it is nonsense, at best an over zealous local planning authority, if any such dictate was to come out of the ODPM it would be challengeable as being ultra vires (without authority) indeed on average we get 30% of planning inspectors refuse mast applications technically in the name of Precott as the relevant Secretary of State.'

Sarah P


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