Residents oppose plans for mobile phone mast

Michael Haines with his petition against the phone mast

More than 1,000 people have opposed plans to erect a phone mast disguised as a telegraph pole in Marston, Oxford.

Vodafone wants to put the pole in Jack Straw's Lane, near St Michael and All Angels Church, 100 yards from the site of a previous application in Marston Road.

A petition, organised by Marston resident Michael Haines, has already picked up 1,023 signatures - and he hopes to get at least 2,000 before he hands it to Oxford City Council at the end of the month.

This is not the first petition Mr Haines has run. He collected 779 signatures when he successfully opposed the earlier phone mast application in November, 2005.

Mr Haines, 66, of Croft Road, and other residents in the area do not want the 10-metre high phone mast to go up because they feel it is unsightly and the radiation from the mast could lead to health problems.

The purpose of the mast is to provide high quality 3G coverage to the Marston area of the city.

Vodafone considered the Jack Straw's Lane location to be one that will have less impact on the environment. The pole will be located on a grass verge, near a number of trees which will provide some screening for the site.

Mr Haines said: "The residents are concerned that Vodafone has put new plans in for a new phone mast.

"I have set up another petition and I have been knocking on residents' doors in the area asking that they say no to this new mast and stop it from going up.

"I have already got more signatures than the last petition, but I do hope to get at least 2,000 in total before I take it to the city council before January 31.

"Everyone has been very supportive and are only too happy to sign it."

Mr Haines hopes the council will refuse planning permission for the phone mast.

Vodafone spokesman Rob Matthews, said the current proposal took account of comments from the council and the Government inspector when they refused the earlier proposal for Marston Road.

He said: "All Vodafone's sites are designed and operated in accordance with stringent international exposure guidelines that have the formal backing of independent bodies such as the World Health Organisation."

Omega read "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under:

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