'Orange ruined our Christmas'

Jan 4 2007

By Glenn Pearson
glennpearson @trinitysouth.co.uk

ANGRY residents say their Christmas was ruined because an 80ft mobile phone mast has been interfering with their televisions.

The mast was erected in Godstone Road, Whyteleafe,in October 2005 and has been a bone of contention for residents ever since.

It was originally operated by O2 and during that time residents suffered problems with their TV sets.

After months of complaints the company diverted its signals from the mast and homeowners' TV picture quality was restored again in the Godstone Road area.

But in October last year the mast was taken over by mobile phone company Orange. The problem has now resurfaced, with some households finding that they get no TV reception at all.

Lin Betmead says she has had enough and that it is "unfair" that she and other residents are forced to pay £131.50 for a TV licence when they cannot get a picture.

She said: "Why should I have to pay so much for a television licence when I get a bad picture downstairs and not one at all upstairs?

"I am really fed up with this. O2 diverted the signal for us after admitting that it had caused a problem, but Orange will not return any of my calls.

"I wanted it done before Christmas so I rang two or three times a day from December 6, but Orange has still not got back to me.

"It has made me very angry.It is not fair and Orange does not give a damn."

Miss Betmead said that over the Christmas period she was unable to watch any programmes on one of her sets and the picture quality on the other has been greatly reduced.

She also complained that many people in her road have decided to sign up for Sky television because they are able to get a reception.

She said: "I do not want Sky television and I also cannot afford it.

"I am happy with what I have got now so why should I be forced into getting something that I don't want? I was looking forward to watching programmes at Christmas but I couldn't."

Joan Newman, 82, also of Godstone Road, can see the towering mast from her house.

She said: "We get horizontal lines going across the screen and a snowy background, which is a real problem because it makes it hard to watch for any length of time.

"It is also not very good for the eyes so I have to keep getting up and going for a walk before going back to it.

"It made me not want to watch programmes over Christmas, which is what I really like to do.

"It seems to have been even worse over Christmas because more people have been using their mobile phones."

A spokesman for Orange said the mast based just off Church Road is not in operation at the moment but work is being carried out for its future use.

She said: "The mast on Church Road is not switched on and is not yet live.

"We are progressing with it but it is still a long way off being used as the equipment is still being installed."

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Southern Limited 2007

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