Trust in move to ban phone masts

DOMINIC CHESSUM

11 November 2006 11:23

A community trust could soon place a permanent ban to stop mobile phone companies putting masts on its land.

The North Earlham, Larkman and Marlpit (NELM) development trust which is a community regeneration programme, is investigating the possibility of placing a moratorium on telecommunication development on all the land it owns in the city.

It could also place covenants on its land assets to ensure the ban remains in place permanently.

The ban would mirror one already put in place by Norwich city council which does not allow masts to be placed on land or buildings it owns.

The move comes after NELM threw out an unsolicited approach from mobile phone operator O2 to site a 22m high mast off Ivy Road, Bowthrope.

David Ralph, executive director of NELM, said: “The residents asked us to look at this only a few days before our board meeting.

“We have agreed to look in the next three of four months at whether to bring forward a policy.

“I think this is an issue for the NELM area.

“One of the things that struck us was that if we just said we would not allow building on land people could turn round in the future and reverse this decision.

“The issue really it whether we can impose something permanent and it is not just about masts it is about ring fencing land for community use.”

Mr Ralph said that further consultation with families would now take place and he hoped a decision could be reached by the spring.

The possibility of a permanent ban has been welcomed by those who campaigned hard against the 02 proposal.

John Clayton, lives in Ivy Road and collected a petition of more than 100 signatures calling for its rejection and for a moratorium.

He said: “We are pleased the board is exploring a policy of rejecting future solicitations from telecommunication developers exploring the idea of placing covenants on future land sales.

“We very much hope this will be a high priority. Residents have already shown their strength of feeling on this.

Ward councillor Rupert Read spoke against the mast at the board meeting where it was rejected.

He welcomed the prospect of a permanent ban and called on other landowners to follow suit.

He said: “It is Green Party policy that there should be a moratorium on phone masts in the Norwich area and this is a welcome step towards that.

“I think any landowner who says I am not going to allow masts on my land if they are within 500 metres of schools or houses is doing an enormous favour to the people of Norwich.”

The Evening News has long run our Put Masts On Hold campaign, calling for no masts to be built on land near homes and schools until it is conclusively proved there is no risk to health.

# Are you worried about a mobile phone mast near you? Contact reporter Dominic Chessum on 01603 772428 or email dominic.chessum@archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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