Campaigners delighted as phone mast vanishes

By Daniel Knowles

Neighbours Karen Kelly, left, and Kath Shoesmith are overjoyed as the phone mast is moved away from their homes.

PHONE mast campaigners are finally claiming victory after mobile company workers turned up to remove the pole blighting their lives.

The O2 phone mast was removed from Akers Way yesterday morning after a two-year battle.

Resident Karen Kelly, who lives in Manor Crescent with her husband, security guard Stephen, 48, son Morgan, 14, and daughter Summer, 10, said she was "ecstatic" to see the pole, which was a stone's throw from her home, come down.

"It's brilliant," housewife Mrs Kelly, 49, said. "I have been waiting nearly two years for this.

"Thanks to the Adver for all their help in the past.

"Also thanks for the tireless efforts of ex-councillor Derique Montaut and MP Michael Wills to get this mast removed.

"It's the best news I've had in two years."

The phone mast went up in Akers Way in March 2005.

Ever since, residents of Manor Crescent have been concerned about possible health dangers from the communications pole.

Morgan suffers from alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss and can weaken the immune system, and Mrs Kelly had feared that the mast could have an effect on him.

"They started the groundwork on the mast even before the planning application was approved," Mrs Kelly said.

"It was placed just 45 metres from my home.

"They should not be placed in residential areas.

"We all thought we were being used in some biological experiment because nobody knows the effects of these masts.

"My biggest concern was my young son with autoimmune disease.

"I'm so happy to have thing gone from outside my house."

In July 2005, the Adver reported O2 had accepted an alternative site for the mast in Akers Way.

The group from Moredon had been left disappointed in May that year when Swindon Council's decision to find a new site for the O2 mast fell on deaf ears with the mobile phone company rejecting the spot.

But in July, a meeting between O2, then local councillor Derique Montaut and the council's principal planning officer proved successful.

The company will move the mast to the other side of Akers Way - 40m further away from the houses in Manor Crescent, which face on to it.

Mrs Kelly had rallied her neighbours to fight the mast, gathering a 300-strong petition.

James Stevenson, community relations officer for O2, said the firm had decided to compromise and put the mast 40 meters back, on the other side of the road.

But Mr Stevenson denied the mast, which went up in March, had been put in the wrong place originally.

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