'Give us £130k and we won't put up a mast'

Nov 29 2006

By Ben Clover

A PROPERTY firm has offered not to go ahead with a controver-sial mobile phone mast development - as long as residents hand over £130,000.

Protesters in and around Arthur Road, Wimbledon, have gathered a petition and written to their MP protesting at the plan but have been told they must pay up if they want to stop it.

An email received last week from the site owner, Towerstile, read: "It has been suggested Towerstile should forgo the potential income.

"We would be willing to withdraw consent to the mast on receipt of £130,000."

The email to campaign organiser DeNica Fairman continued: "If you and your fellow objectors feel strongly about the issues, I am sure you will have no problem in raising this money.

"I already have a contract for signature and I shall therefore need a very quick response if this offer is of interest.

"Incidentally, I would be interested to know how many of you use your mobile phones in the presence of children and/or in built-up areas."

The mast would be above a cafe in the street which is home to many young families. The height of the proposed mast means no planning permission is necessary.

MP for Wimbledon, Stephen Hammond told The Post: "This company is trying to hold the community to ransom. Just because we have more than 2,000 signatures on our petition doesn't mean we can suddenly go off and raise £130,000.

"I have met with Orange who want to put the mast up and suggested eight alternative sites that would serve the same area."

He said nearly every other property in the street had been approached by Orange, but their owners, most of which were based in the area, refused. Towerstile are based in Horsham, West Sussex.

Ms Fairman said delivering the petition to Parliament last night would not be the end of their campaign.

She warned Towerstile: "People will be getting in touch to say how unhappy they are about this."

The Post approached Towerstile for comment but as we went to press had received no reply.

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Southern Limited 2006

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