Orange mast plans squashed

14 September 2006

VICTORY: Residents celebrate mast triumph

PARENTS who locked horns with a mobile phone company over plans to install a mast near a primary school have claimed victory.

Bosses at mobile phone giant Orange have bowed to pressure from residents in Bedonwell Road, Belvedere, and revised their planning application to Bexley council.

The initial proposals outlined plans for a mast just 100 yards from Bedonwell Junior School.

Now, following an eight-month battle with campaigners, Orange has prepared an application for a mast at least 700 metres from the school grounds.

Alan Eaton, a leading member of action group Orange Squash, said: "We are obviously pleased Orange has reconsidered the application and decided to move the mast further away from the school.

"Our main concern was the potential health risk posed to the children.

"Residents are pleased with this result."

He added: "Orange Squash would like to say thank you to all who have helped with our campaign and a big thank you to Bexley Times for your support."

The phone company has had a mast on the school site since 1995, but its new plan is to remove it and put up a mast 700 metres from the school.

The original plans outraged parents, who feared for the healthy and safety of their children who attend the school.

Mr Eaton launched a campaign against the proposal, collecting 300 signatures from worried parents in just two days.

He went on to collect a further 500 signatures and gave the petition to David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, who handed it to Parliament.

The Orange Squash campaign was also backed by veteran journalist Esther Rantzen, who was leading national campaign SHAME (Schools and Hospitals Against Mast Emissions).

An Orange spokesman said: "We have written to the residents informing them of the changes and will meet them in due course.

"Our aim is to strike a balance between the people who pay to have a good service and those who live near the mast. We feel this new site is suitable."

For more information on the SHAME campaign, visit //www.shame.org.uk .

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

//tinyurl.com/k9som

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