No masking of mast disgust

By Mark Killiner

Parents and pupils gather outside St Mary's School on Tuesday for an impromptu demonstration in advance of the big one, planned for June 4

A STORM is brewing over plans for a mobile phone mast on a church opposite a primary school.

The plans, which involve building a T-Mobile base station in the spire of SS Peter and Paul Church on the Green, Chingford, have met huge opposition from neighbours and staff and pupils of St Mary's Catholic Primary School, only 50 metres away.

A special court is to meet in the church next month to examine the issue.

The community is angry that the church is pressing ahead with the plans despite mounting anecdotal evidence of serious health risks associated with exposure to phone mast radiation. continued...

A precautionary approach to installing masts near sensitive sites such as schools has been advised by the Government's Stewart Report.

Over 600 people have already signed a petition opposing the scheme.

Myra Yeo, spokeswoman for the Justify Unnecessary Dangers Against Schoolchildren (JUDAS) campaign and a company director whose business is based on the Green, said: "The church is putting money before the welfare of children.

"It is a year on since the issue first came to light and the parish seems to have waited for a drop in people's attention, but that has not happened.

"I think that they are underestimating the weight of local opposition and they will be surprised at the reaction.

"More than 600 people have told them they do not want the mast. That is a clear message from the community they serve. What more does it take?"

The campaigners say they are anticipating a big turnout for a demonstration outside the church on Sunday, June 4, at 9.30am.

MP Iain Duncan Smith is also opposing the plan.

He said: "The health risks have not been proved and while the jury is out we should be very careful about where these masts are placed, especially when the mast will be in close proximity to three schools and a residential area."

The matter is up for consideration before a special church court, known as a consistory court.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford, which covers the Chingford area, said: "The judge, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Chelmsford, is expected to hold a hearing and then a trial on whether the church will have a mobile phone mast in its spire. Both the hearing and the trial will be held in public."

The hearing takes place in SS Peter and Paul Church hall on Tuesday, June 13, at 10.30am.

11:42am today

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