Town hall's phone mast 'secret' is revealed

15 November 2006

A MOBILE phone mast has been hidden in the tower at Hornsey Town Hall for the past four years, it has been revealed.

The mast, operated by O2, brings in an estimated £10,000 a year for Haringey Council, but residents are angry that they didn't know it was there.

Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, described the installation of the mast as "underhand".

She said: "I would have thought the council would have wanted to make sure that people were aware of this, given the amount of concern there is about mobile phone mast dangers. But I am surprised that they have acted in such an underhand way."

Haringey Council insisted that permission for the mast was dealt with in the proper manner, but residents are angry that the council did not allow the information to become common knowledge.

Details of the mast were announced at a meeting of the Hornsey Historical Society last week, where those in charge of guiding the development of the listed building were invited to discuss plans for the landmark.

It was there that Chris Warburton, chairman of the Hornsey Town Hall Partnership Board (CPB), told the audience that the mast was there.

Sue Hessel, of Haslemere Road Residents' Association, said: "Mr Warburton was as pleased as punch when he revealed the fact that they have now got a mobile phone mast in the town hall.

"It was as if it hadn't occurred to him that people might be concerned about this.

"They should have jolly well consulted about this."

Mrs Hessel pointed to the housing development planned for the town hall site, where around 140 new homes are planned.

She said: "This will be the largest housing development in Crouch End since Chettle Court. Surely people will be concerned that there will be a mast right on their doorstep."

Kit Greveson, of Crouch End for People - which is opposed to the CPB plans - described the mobile mast as "skulduggery".

She said: "Was anyone consulted about this? Are we to applaud this piece of skuldugerry and deceit.

"Haven't we been banging on all over the borough about the potential health risks of these modern pieces of development?"`

A spokesman for Haringey Council said that planning permission was granted in September 2002. He added: "The application was notified in the normal way, and complies with Government guidelines that councils have to follow when considering proposals of this type."

The money raised by the mobile phone mast may go into developing the town hall.

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.



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