Anger voiced at Stanground phone mast plans

PLANS to put up a mobile phone mast just metres away from homes have been met with fierce opposition.

Service provider 02 wants to locate a 12.5-metre column with antennae, near Havelock Farm in Whittlesey Road, Stanground, Peterborough.
But people living in nearby Park Farm say they fear the mast could be a health hazard and will look ugly, and are angry about a lack of consultation on the matter.

Phil Gaunt (39), who lives in Houghton Avenue, has written to Peterborough City Council to complain about the proposed development.

He said: "The mast would be less than 50 yards from my back garden and I believe it would be an eyesore and a danger to the residents of Park Farm.

"Concerns have been raised about the long-term effects of constant bombardment by microwave radiation and the technology has not been proved to be safe."

Mr Gaunt claimed many people were unaware of the planned installation of a mobile phone mast and said the applicant should have made more of an effort to canvass local opinion.

Residents have contacted their local councillor Janet Wilkinson to voice their concerns and have written to the city council.

In July this year Mr Gaunt was threatened with court action for displaying a banner advertising a community website on the side of his home without planning permission. He is still trying to resolve that issue with planning officials.

"How can it be fine to erect a huge phone mast without permission, but not a small banner for a non-profit making community website?" he asked.

Government policy states that mobile phone masts under 15m do not require planning permission and local authorities are unable to object to them on health grounds.

Peterborough City Council is however seeking views on the plan and will pass on comments to the applicant.

Spokesman Mike Lennox said: "The O2 application was received on September 15 and initial letters to residents in nearby properties in Barham Close, Peckover Close and Havelock Drive were mailed on September 25 and a site notice was put up.

"Following a request from Councillor Janet Wilkinson, further letters were distributed to residents of properties up to 250 metres from the site and additional site notices were put up at the entrance to Framlingham Road and near the school.

"Normally, there is a 21-day opportunity for people to express comments but the decision in this case is not scheduled to be made until November 9."

Mr Lennox added: "Since this proposed mast is only 12.5 metres tall, it will have no more impact on the landscape than other "street furniture" such as lamp-posts and telephone posts."

Article by: Jonathan Sandall

18 October 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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