Anti-mobile phone mast campaigner and Belvedere resident Alan Eaton talks about battling

18 October 2006

UP until the beginning of this year I did not pay much attention to the campaign groups that are almost pandemic. However, the small community that I am part of became contaminated by a planning application issue I could not ignore.

This might sound a bit dramatic but currently the law allows a third party that does not even reside in your community to impose its will on you. In our case Orange intended to install another mobile mast outside Bedonwell School, and they had no requirement to justify application. On the other hand, Bedonwell School and our community had to justify why Orange could not install their mast. Government panning justice!

In our defence we formed Orange Squash, and became one of the pandemic of campaign groups. Within a short time we found several valid reasons why Orange could not obtain planning permission, two of which Orange must of known. However unless strong objection is raised during the planning period regarding these reasons Orange would obtain permission to install their mast, and of course if they are unsuccessful, Orange also have the opportunity of an appeal.

Our campaign against Orange was successful, but what was the cost? To our community there was the stress for nearly a year that an unwanted mobile mast would be a blotting the landscape, with it consequences. For the school there was the fear of the continue presence of an Orange mast with many parents considering removing their children from the school. And the hidden cost, as most campaign groups will tell you is the hours twenty of our community devoted to the campaign and we are indebted to them for that. Of the core six we recorded over 400 man-hours with a total expenditure over £800.

The cost is yet to rise as T-Mobile has now informed Orange Squash that it plans to install a mobile mast 10 meters from Oranges proposed site, which is even closer to the school.

Why another campaign? Because planning law requires it - and you could be the next to be infected.

For more information on Orange Squash, visit //www.orangesquash.org.

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

//tinyurl.com/ygaoyc

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