Families prepare for phone mast battle

PETER WALSH
24 June 2006 09:31

Families living on a sprawling estate look set for a fresh battle to stop a mobile phone mast being built at the heart of their community.

Telecommunications giant O2 has submitted plans for a 12.5 metre mast with enclosed antennae and ground-based equipment cabinets on highway verge on Dussindale Drive, Thorpe St Andrew.

The choice of site initially caused outrage among people living in the area as it was just yards from a plot of land at Vane Close, off Dussindale Drive, where work to build a £4m primary school has started.

The application was withdrawn by O2 in March following a successful community campaign opposing the mast, but now the company has put in a separate application for a mast on the road opposite an existing 10m mobile phone mast operated by Orange.

“It's down the road from the first one,” said a spokesman for O2. “We're getting out of the area of where people were saying they didn't want it - hopefully we're going to be out of the way of them.”

The spokesman said the mast was needed to provide adequate access and cover for mobile users in the area. But families who fought so hard to stop the mast last time are not impressed they will be faced with another battle to stop this one.

Roy Francis, 52, from Vane Close, who started a petition against the previous mast application, said he was shocked to hear more proposals had been lodged with Broadland District Council.

Mr Francis, an aircraft engineer, said he would support objectors to the mast even though it was further away from the site of the school.

“It's still a very densely populated residential area,” he said. “I wouldn't want it next to my house; it's hard to visualise 12.5 metres.”

Michelle Dickerson, a mum of two who lives on Association Way, off Dussindale Drive, said: “There's obviously a need for mobile phone masts, but I don't know why they have to be right outside our house.”

After their victory in March, Mr Francis thanked the Evening News for raising awareness about the issue among people living in the area.

The Evening News has campaigned against the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools, until it is proved they are safe, through our Put Masts on Hold campaign.

Are you battling a mobile phone mast application where you live? Telephone Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on (01603) 772439 or e-mail peter.walsh@archant.co.uk .

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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