Church phone mast faces more hurdles

BY Howard Williamson

MOBILE phone operators 02 have won planning permission to build a mast inside a church tower.

But public opposition might still stop it going up.

So many residents at Barwick-in-Elmet objected to the plan that the Rector of All Saints, the Rev Brunel James, felt impelled to call a public meeting.
Observers said opinion was divided over the mast and the Parochial Church Council will now take this into account when it makes a decision at the end of this month.

If it wants to proceed with the mast - which would perhaps give the church another £12,000 income a year - it will have to apply to the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds.

Diocesan spokesman the Rev John Carter said: "The Diocese advisory committee would then consult the community and if it felt there was concern it could refer the matter to the Chancellor of the Diocese (who is a court judge) to make a decision.

"There are no aesthetic objections to this mast as it would be contained within the church tower, but some parents are concerned about the health implications.

"There were others at the public meeting who said everyone used mobile phones and they should stop being 'nimbys'. Opinion was divided 50/50.

Health

"Barwick has a very historic church which costs a lot to run and the rental income would be useful."

Harewood councillor Ann Castle, who represents Barwick on Leeds City Council, commented: "A plan for the mast was submitted earlier this summer and the usual notices were put up around the village. It attracted only two objections.

"I felt this level of opposition did not warrant the application going before a plans panel and the plan was duly approved by officers.

"A local resident who is concerned about mobile phone masts for health reasons then started a campaign to get the decision overturned.

"A number of people spoke from the floor at the public meeting. A few took the line that no one who uses a mobile phone has a right to complain about a mast but most people seemed to be worried about the health implications."

howard.williamson@ypn.co.uk

21 August 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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