Time to talk on mast plan

A MOBILE phone giant is hoping to erect a mast in the grounds of a cricket club.

Hartlepool Cricket Club, in Park Drive, has been offered a cash sum by T-Mobile to house the telecommunications mast in the form of a flag pole. The company has yet to formally lodge a planning application, but a meeting to discuss the proposal with Hartlepool Borough Council and the club committee has been arranged. The club has so far got no objections to the plan, as the money would allow it to buy an all-weather pitch. However, members would refuse it if a danger to health could be proved. Councillor Pauline Laffey, Conservative representative for the Park ward, is convinced there would be detrimental affects to health. She said: “I object very strongly to the erection of this mast on health grounds, but particularly the health of our children. “Nothing is certain about these masts but many people believe or are convinced that there is a danger to humans. “We have a park nearby and hundreds of homes, and I just don’t think it’s safe.” She added: “It’s our children’s health for sale, that’s what it amounts to.” Bill Shurmer, chairman of Hartlepool Cricket Club, said: “My vision of a mobile phone mast was probably like that of many people, an unattractive hi-tech piece of equipment, that would have absolutely no place in the beautiful Park Drive area. “However, they are proposing a flag pole, which will simply replace the existing one and be sighted at the rear of the club, away from the public areas. “This, we felt, was acceptable from an aesthetic viewpoint and therefore we have, at this stage, allowed them to proceed with a planning application. “The money on offer would be used to create an all-weather practice facility at the ground, which is something that we are urgently in need of. “We have tried to obtain grants and sponsorship, but at this stage we have not been successful and therefore feel that this is an alternative option that we should explore to the full. “I repeat, at this stage no decision has been made and be assured that we will do nothing that the experts consider a danger to health. “Indeed, any decision may be out of our hands, subject to the result of the planning application.” A council spokesman confirmed that planning chiefs have been invited to “enter into pre-application discussions” about the mast. A T-Mobile spokesman said its interest was “due to the demand of services”. A meeting for club members to discuss the issue with experts will be held on Wednesday, December 6, at 6pm, in the club.

29 November 2006

All rights reserved © 2006 Johnston Press Digital Publishing.

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