'SCAREMONGERING': Farmer accuses mast opponents

A FARMER at the centre of a row about a mobile phone mast has accused opponents of scaremongering in order to block its siting.

Colin Griffiths has farmed Jeffreys Farm in Horsted Keynes for nearly 50 years and his own house and another one owned by him are among the four houses within 300 metres of the proposed mast site.

He also maintains that he is not benefiting directly from any fee that would be paid by communications company Orange as the land is owned by one of his children.

"And even if I was, I am 78 so I wouldn't have thought I would see much of it myself," he said.

Mr Griffiths accused campaigners against the mast of scaremongering about perceived health risks and the location of the mast.

"Leaflets have been distributed around the village which are both intentionally misleading and inaccurate," he said. "The proposed site is almost perfect to improve local reception and cannot be seen from roads, footpaths or houses."

Orange wants the 20 metre mast on land off Keysford Lane to improve reception for Orange users within Horsted Keynes. Its latest application for planning permission varies from a previous one earlier this year in the access to the mast site.

Jeffreys Farm, and much of the village, is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and structures which could damage the area are severely restricted by planning regulations.

Opponents have until Friday (July 21) to register objections to the mast with MSDC.

Neighbour Mary Elston, who lives with her husband, Stephen, at Tyhurst Farm, 120 metres from the proposed mast site, said concern about it was affecting their health.

"There is no mileage in us objecting on grounds of perceived dangers as they are not planning considerations," she said. "The only reason to object is because of the AONB and that people in Lindfield as well as the surrounding area will be able to see this mast.

"We do not want to fall out with our neighbours and we are not anti-masts per se, but we came to live here for a rural life, not an urban one, and a mast here is totally out of keeping with the area."


19 July 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.



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