MAST PLAN FROM 'CLOUD CUCKOO LAND'

A PROPOSAL for a towering 40-foot mobile phone mast in the centre of a village conservation area has been condemned as "outrageous" by district councillor Gary Marsh.

"It would be like a Belisha beacon – visible from all over the village," Mr Marsh said. "It is absurd – complete cloud cuckoo land!"

The proposed siting by British Telecom at its telephone exchange in Stockcroft Road, Balcombe, also places the steel monopole next to Tiggers Playgroup, the village's pre-school group.

"Government guidelines say children below a certain age should not use mobile phones and yet this would be less than 50 metres from Tiggers," Mr Marsh said.

An application to site the mast in Stockcroft Road comes within days of another blow to villagers who campaigned against an application to put three wall-mounted antennae on Gilletts Surgery, near the village centre.

The district council refused permission because of fears of disturbance caused by humming from the equipment box. But an appeal by Orange has just been approved by a planning inspector on condition that noise insulation is agreed and emitted noise is measured and monitored.

Mr Marsh, district councillor for Balcombe, said he was "gutted" by the inspector's decision. He said Balcombe was already surrounded by at least 10 other masts, with permission for two more also given.

"It's bad enough having them across the valley trying to look like trees but bringing them into the village itself, on a doctors' surgery and next to a playgroup is appalling," he added.

Balcombe Parish Council will discuss the BT monopole application on Tuesday at 7.30pm in the WI Room at the Victory Hall. Residents have until December 1 to write to MSDC to comment on the application.

middy.news@sussexnewspapers.co.uk

14 November 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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