Phone mast gets a poor reception

RESIDENTS in South Shore are fighting moves to put a mobile phone mast near a children's playground.

A planning application has been lodged with Blackpool Council to mount a six metre mast close to Highfield Road Park.

Communications company Orange wants to put the antennae, along with a satellite dish and six equipment cupboards, on top of Moulton Printers on Highfield Road.

But neighbours say that while the safety of masts is still uncertain they should not be sited in residential areas.

They are now collecting signatures on a petition and are determined to block the plans.

Peter Brown, 51, of Highfield Road said: "There are just too many unanswered questions about these masts. We are not saying they are definitely dangerous, we are just saying that until people can tell us they are definitely not dangerous, they shouldn't be putting them in densely populated areas like this where it is next to a children's playground, a nursery and hundreds of homes."

Annie Carr, who lives opposite the proposed site, has even vowed to picket the printing firm if councillors approve the scheme.

The 57-year-old said: "It is a case of better safer than sorry. While there is any doubt about dangerous radiation we don't want one here.

"We have delivered petitions to most of the shops on Highfield Road and we want as many people as possible to sign them so we can show the council how much opposition there is to the mast.

"I have been looking into concerns about mobile phone masts and it is frightening.

"I know some people argue there are no dangers associated with them but then again they said there was no problem with thalidomide, asbestos and BSE."

The group is supported by Highfield ward councillor, Susan Fowler.
She said: "Until it is categorically proven they pose no threat they should not be put in built up areas.

"Back in November 2000 people power successfully saw off plans to put a similar mast in Fishers Field.

"Hopefully, we can do that again."

Geoff Williams, North West co-ordinator of anti-antennae campaign group, Mast Sanity, believes mobile phone masts are linked to cases cancer, leukaemia and brain tumours.

He said: "I have lived under the shadow of a mast for years and it has devastated the health of my family.

"Radiation can have frightening implications for people's health. There have been clusters of cancer cases near where I live."

The planning application was submitted to council planners on May 18 and the consultation period expires on June 15.

A Gazette investigation last year found that thousands of Blackpool children were playing in the shadow of huge mobile phone masts.

It revealed that around one in four of the resort's schools were within 100m of an antennae.

Among them were St Cuthbert's in Lightwood Avenue, South Shore, and Palatine High School in St Annes Road, South Shore.

The UK has over 45,000 masts used to provide coverage for 55 million mobile phone subscribers in the UK.

No-one from Orange was available for comment.

rebecca.smith2@blackpoolgazette.co.uk

02 June 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

http://www.blackpooltoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=62&ArticleID=1541811

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