Mast plan halted after protests

Intense local pressure has put a halt to controversial plans to erect a phone mast in a Wimbledon road.

Phone company O2 has agreed to meet with local councillors and MP Stephen Hammond to discuss the proposal to build the 3G mast at the Bendon Laundry on Haydons Road, which has attracted a storm of objections.

Among residents' chief concerns are the proximity to a school, the potential health hazards and the devaluation of house prices. continued...

An O2 spokesman said: "We're meeting on August 2 to look into where we plan to put it and where we would like to put it.

"The chances are we won't put it in that spot because a lot of people are complaining, and these politicians are going out of their way to talk to us."

However, it appears that the mast will be relocated rather than shelved entirely.

"We want to put up this mast because our coverage is not as good as we expect for our customers," the spokesman added.

"Wimbledon is a growing area and almost everybody who comes to live or work in Wimbledon has access to mobile technology, which they are using a great deal."

Lewis Chard, of Caxton Road, who has opposed the mast, said: "I think this shows that O2 is willing to listen to local residents and that's a very positive thing.

"But it's disppointing that the government don't require planning permission for phone masts, only prior approval. You can't convert a house into flats or put an extension on your house but you can put a 40 foot mast in your garden!"

8:48am today

© Copyright 2001-2006 Newsquest Media Group

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