Boycott threat for school over telephone mast

editorial @hamhigh.co.uk

09 February 2007

Katie Davies

WORRIED parents have threatened to take their children out of a £10,000-a-year private school because of health fears over a mobile phone mast.

Mothers of boys at The Hall in Hampstead are outraged that O2 has won permission for a phone mast on Buckland Court, Belsize Park, just metres from the junior school.

They have accused the company of sneaking the mast in - after Camden Council planning officers approved the scheme in November without telling parents.

Justine Harris, who works at Jewish Care in Golders Green, is one of the angry mothers.

She said: "Many parents are very concerned about it and are considering moving their children if it is installed.

"This is not what anyone wants. O2 got permission in December without anyone knowing about it.

"This area has the highest proportion of schools in the country and I don't think its right to put in a phone mast here. They really did sneak it in."

Parents have started a letter campaign to O2 and are meeting staff to discuss the issue tonight.

Nicola Gee has two sons at the school, Marcus and William, and another, Simon, who previously attended.

She wrote: "I'm amazed that the phone mast could actually be going ahead. Having been a Hall parent for nearly eight years, with a possible further eight years ahead if Simon's younger brothers continue to attend the school, the potential of a phone mast is a major concern.

"I completed a degree in biology, followed by an MSc, and am fully aware that the long-term consequences of any study can never be fully determined until the next generation has reached adulthood.

"On that basis, it is impossible to know the long-term effects a phone mast could have on our young children.

"I would therefore seriously consider looking at alternative schools for Marcus and William, if the phone mast were to go ahead.

"This is despite the fact I am a great fan of The Hall School. Simon has had the best education and experience I could ever have hoped for."

An O2 spokesman said: "We have full planning permission for this one. We would ask people not to be too concerned about it. On the next block from where we are T-Mobile has a site and we are replicating what they have.

"There won't be any increase in emissions from the site than what's coming now."

Hall Headmaster Philip Lough was unavailable for comment.

katie.davies @hamhigh.co.uk

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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