Call to arms over a mobile phone mast

Jan 18 2007

By John Hill

AN UNWANTED Christmas present has sent tongues wagging around Limehouse.

Residents clearing out their yuletide trees and tinsel were shocked to discover telecommunications company T Mobile had already set the wheels in motion for a 10-metre slimline black phone mast to be constructed off Branch Road.

An application for the monopole, which would include shrouded antennas and an equipment cabinet, was lodged on December 11 to improve the "poor quality" reception in the area. The pole will also be designed to cater for the next-generation 3G network, which will allow users to browse the internet, listen to music and watch video on their mobiles.

But the message was not passed on to Limehouse homeowners until they were tipped off by an email from a fellow resident - Limehouse West Management Team chairman David Ronaldson.

Among the objectors is Victory Place Residents Association chairman Donald Davies, who has submitted a petition signed by more than two-thirds of the 143 apartment owners. He said: "People are keen to object to this. It would be on a footpath, and people sit around there just to enjoy life.

"I suppose masts have to be put up somewhere, but it's a funny place. T-Mobile users don't seem to have a problem around here. And we're concerned they seem to be trying to slip this through. We found out just after Christmas from another resident, but nobody's seen any notices relating to the application anywhere around Limehouse."

The petitioners claim the company has presented no evidence for its claims of poor reception, and have complained about the "insufficiency of notice and consultation".

They also say health concerns will cause "fear and stress" to residents, and argue the mast will be an eyesore in the attractive area.

Mr Davies is aware of several other petitioners against the mast, which would be set up on British Waterways land in Limehouse Basin.

T-Mobile claims the location was decided after an "exhaustive site search", and that "no other site share opportunities were available".

It said: "The proposed installation will be of a sympathetic nature due to its minor scale and bulk and painted to blend with existing structures in the surrounding."

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Southern Limited 2007

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