Concern over church phone mast plans

nlnews @archant.co.uk
21 February 2007

TALKS are underway between mobile phone giant T Mobile and Muswell Hill Baptist Church for a mast in its spire just yards from two schools.

The possibility of a mast in the Dukes Avenue church so close to Muswell Hill Primary School and the Hornsey Trust's Conductive Education Centre for children with cerebral palsy has prompted concern.

There are already at least 17 mobile phone base stations within three-quarters of a mile of Muswell Hill Broadway including a Vodafone mast on nearby land at The Hill bar/nightclub.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: "I know that the local authority has said that children must not be within 200 yards of a phone mast.

"There are two opinions on this - one that it doesn't matter about mobile phone masts, the other is that we need to know where masts are going and adopt a 'play safe' attitude towards them."

Church minister Andrew Picton told the Journal a final decision would be made by congregation members.

He said: "I understand there's still a certain amount of controversy around the issue even after all these years.

"We need to make decisions as a community together and explore all the issues open and honestly. We will take any concerns seriously."

He would not say how much T Mobile was proposing to pay in rent.

A spokesman for T Mobile said: "It is at a very early stage yet. There is no agreement, no planning application, no design; it is just to see whether they are interested and whether we can fit the equipment in the area of the church.

"I think probably it will be another two months before anything happens."

Meanwhile, St Peter-le-Poer Church in Albion Avenue, Friern Barnet, has given the go ahead for its tower to be used for a Vodafone mast.

The next steps are an application to Barnet Council and for the chancellor of the diocese of London to give his blessing to the move.

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional Limited. All rights reserved.

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