Protesters’ joy as mast plan ditched

PEOPLE in Weeke are celebrating after a mobile phone giant decided it no longer needed a phone mast in Stockbridge Road.

O2 was proposing to install a 15m monopole at the junction with Burnett Close, near the former Chimneys pub, but decided instead to use other resources to enhance coverage in the area.

Winchester anti-mast campaigner, Karen Barratt, a representative of the Wessex Registry of Active Masts, hoped the decision was permanent, and not just put on the backburner until the uncertain future of the area - which has been targeted by two supermarkets - is resolved.

She said: "I'm very pleased. The whole point of doing pre-application consultation is to listen, and it's good that for once they have listened to local people and local feeling.

"People don't want to live near phone masts and they have listened.

"I just wish they did this more often and I'm very pleased they've backed off."

Nick Simpson, who lives opposite the proposed site in Thistledown Close, said he was "absolutely delighted" by the "tremendous news".

He added: "It's great they have seen reason and decided to operate within their existing resources."

St Barnabas Ward councillor, Eileen Berry, who spoke up against the plans for the mast because of its close proximity to a primary school and play area, said: "It was a ridiculous place to have one, and it wouldn't have done any one any good there."

A spokesman for O2, said: "We have abandoned the Stockbridge Road idea.

"We have managed to fill a gap by tweaking other antennae, and at this moment in time, it looks like it will be a permanent decision."

© Copyright 2001-2006 Newsquest Media Group

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