A RESIDENT hopes to get more than 2,000 signatures on a petition to stop a phone mast being put up next to a medical centre.

Dave Picton, of Tillingham Way, Stone Cross, was so incensed that mobile phone operator 3 had appealed against a decision to refuse permission for the mast, he set about gaining local support.

Now the petition is making the rounds throughout the village. It already has the backing of staff at the Stone Cross Medical Centre, which is located right next to the proposed site.

Mr Picton said, ''The mast is due to be sited next to the medical centre, will be in close proximity to Stone Cross primary school, the pre-school which meets in the memorial hall and the group which meets in St Luke's church.

''It's completely the wrong site.

''If there is no risk for the young, why do the government say that children younger than eight years old shouldn't use a mobile?

''No one wants the mast there. There is a mast further down Dittons Road, which the company has said is not big enough.

''Why don't they get their act together and site it somewhere where no one lives?''

Councillors at Wealden District Council threw out the proposal when it came before the development control south committee in May this year.

However 3 has appealed to the planning inspectorate against the decision.
The refusal notice from Wealden stated, ''The proposed siting of the 12 metre high 'telegraph pole' mast is unacceptable as it would result in a visually incongruous feature at an inappropriate location on the edge of the pavement immediately fronting a busy medical centre, with the possible risk of interference with equipment, and in close proximity to the local primary school, village hall and other community facilities where the general public, including children, regularly visit.''

Kelly Hartland, practice manager for Stone Cross Medical Centre, said, ''Our new doctors' surgery is not on the site location plan and we can only assume that it was not known that a medical centre was going to be built next to 3's preferred site.

''Last year we saw more than 59,000 patients for appointments at our sites in Westham and Pevensey Bay and we expect to be busier at Stone Cross.

''I do not have a suggestion for where it would be better suited, but I do not think that next to a doctor's surgery and a school is the best site.''

William Comery, spokesman for Ericsson which is creating 3's mobile phone network, said, "We have looked at a range of sites and the Dittons Road site was the one which met the criteria best in terms of coverage and how it fits in with the street scene.

"The government's own advice is that mobile phones do not interfere with medical equipment."

01 September 2006

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