Phone mast 'could close playgroup'

A PLAYGROUP says plans for a 15 metre-high mobile phone mast yards from its site will "finish" it.

Drayton Playgroup in Stratford Road, Banbury, which has been running for more than 20 years, has opposed phone company O2's second attempt to put a mast on land close to Drayton School.

Supervisor Diane Bates, who knew nothing of the plans until a parent told her, said: "I think this could finish the playgroup. I think a lot of people will take their children out because they know there are possible health implications, especially fears over cancer and leukaemia.

"We might not find out for 15 or 20 years what effect these things have and they shouldn't be building masts in areas where there are children.
"My son goes to Drayton School and it worries me."

Drayton Playgroup, which has 45 children on its books, has now written to Cherwell District Council opposing the plan.

The mast will be disguised as a telegraph pole and shared between O2 and Hutchison 3G. It will be located on Oxfordshire County Council-owned land next to Trinity Close.

In January 2005 the Banbury Guardian reported plans by O2 to erect a mast nearby at the junction of Stratford Road and Warwick Road.

Parents were concerned over potential health risks from radiation, backed by Drayton School headteacher Richard Sutton and MP Tony Baldry. In the end 02 withdrew the application.

Mary Jenvey, of Powys Grove, who fought the plans last time round, said: "This will happen over my dead body; residents of Banbury will not let it happen.

"I know these companies need to put the masts somewhere but I can't believe how unethical they are doing it near a school and playgroup.

"Until it can be categorically proved there's no health risk they shouldn't be doing it. I have an eight-year-old son and I don't want this mobile phone mast going near my family."

Cherwell District Council says it cannot object to phone mast applications on health grounds, only for siting or appearance reasons.

The telecommunications application has been delegated to Cherwell District Council officers – meaning it cannot be debated by councillors – who must approve or object to the plans by July 5.

Angela Johnson, community liason officer for O2, said: "This is a really key site for coverage in the Banbury area and the mast has to be in a specific place to fit into our existing network.

"If there's any cause for concern it's with phones not masts, and having a mast nearby means power in phones will be far less. There is no evidence of any risk to health because phone masts are so low powered."

Omega this is not true. See under:

Mrs Jenvey replied: "Years ago they used to say smoking was good for you."

Just a few of Banburyshire's other mobile phone masts/antennae include: land north of Manor Farm, Bodicote, O2 and T-Mobile; Horton General Hospital, Vodafone and Cellnet; Banbury School, Ruskin Road, Energis Communications; Middleton Road,Hutchison 3G; Wildmere Road, BT Cellnet; Spital Farm Sewage Works, Thorpe Mead, BT and Cellnet; Sun View Farm, Southam Road, Vodafone; Yew Tree Farm, Bloxham, Vodafone, One2One (now T-Mobile); land south of Warmington, Vodafone; Hook Norton Brewery, Vodafone.

29 June 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.


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