Church under fire over phone mast decision

Published: 23rd May 2006

MEMBERS of the church council of St Aidan’s have upset local residents by agreeing to have a phone mast erected on the building’s tower.

The final decision will be made after consultation ends tomorrow.

But concerns have already been raised by local residents worried about the close proximity of the mast to their homes.

Gary Byrom of Bruce Street said: “As a local resident, this proposed siting so close to houses disturbs me as there are ongoing public health concerns regarding electromagnetic radiation emitted from these masts.

“It seems totally wrong for the church to put financial gain ahead of the welfare of the community it serves and I feel strongly this proposed siting should be rejected by Sudden and Meadway residents.”

Malcolm Bywater, a church warden, said one of the reasons the council approved the plans was because of the lack of conclusive health issues.

He said: “We discussed the matter of health grounds and decided there was no proof of problems and there was more damage from holding a mobile phone to your ear.

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“There won’t be any visual effect on the church because the equipment will be hidden high up in the tower behind 3ft stone walls.

“And parishioners will only be in church for about half-an-hour so I don’t think it will affect them.”

Churches are required to apply for diocesan planning permission and local authority pre-consultation to ensure changes in a church remain under public scrutiny.

Mr Bywater said the rent the mast would bring would bring a ‘significant’ amount of money for church funds.

Beatriz Ayala

First published by the Rochdale Observer

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