Families win mast battle

DOMINIC CHESSUM

27 October 2006 08:54

Families fighting controversial plans for a mobile phone mast near their homes today appeared to have won their battle before it had even begun.

Mobile phone company 02 had sparked fury among people living near to land off Ivy Road, in Earlham, by asking owner the Nelm Development Trust if it would allow a 22-metre mast on the site.

If accepted, the mobile company would then submit a formal application to Norwich City Council.

However, David Ralph, executive director of Nelm, said today he would recommend the proposal be refused at its next board meeting on November 6.

He said: “This was an unsolicited approach to us. It is for a former school site which we took over from the council three or four years and we are currently consulting with the community. There is an overwhelming number of residents not in favour. The recommendation I will be making is that we do not accept this proposal.”

The news has been welcomed by the Earlham Mast Fight Campaign, which is still urging people to sign an online petition.

John Clayton, a campaign organiser from Ivy Road, said: “We feel we still need to make residents and businesses aware, and their views known to the Nelm Trust.

“At the next meeting of the Nelm board, we would like them to consider implementing a policy of rejecting solicitations from telecommunication developers.

“We also feel the Nelm Development trust needs to consult much more with its residents on matters of importance. Telecommunication companies and Norwich City Council should also make concerted efforts to inform local communities about phone mast proposals.”

Jemma Shutter, also from Ivy Road, said: “We are still hoping to get some momentum behind our campaign for the meeting. If people go to the meeting they can lobby and hear what's being discussed.”

Rupert Read, who represents the Wensum ward on the city council, said: “I think this has come about as a result of pressure from local residents and green councillors. We must keep up that pressure to make sure the right decision is made.

“O2 have now shifted attention to another site, the police station on the round about at Earlham Road. I would urge any residents who want to fight this to contact us.”

To sign the petition, log on to to //www.gopetition.com/online/9916.html

Rupert Read can be contacted on 01603 219294 or by e-mail at r.read@cllr.norwich.gov.uk

The Nelm board meeting will be held on November 6 at 5.30pm at the Gurney Centre, Irstead Road, Norwich.

Are you fighting a mobile phone mast near you? Contact reporter Dominic Chessum on 01603 772428 or e-mail dominic.chessum@eveningnews.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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