School opposes phone mast proposal

Exclusive By Helen Thomas

A PROPOSED mobile phone mast near a Hilperton primary school has angered governors, parents and residents.

T Mobile wants to build the mast near the junction of Ashton Road and Hilperton Road, which is only about 100metres from The Mead Primary School.

Chairman of the governors Peter Smith said: "I was horrified to learn of this proposal. "I cannot believe an organisation such as T Mobile would consider it to be reasonable to locate a mast adjacent to a school when they should have learned from experience elsewhere in the country it's not socially acceptable.

"I think we'll look back in years to come and question our sanity if we allow this to happen."

He arranged an extraordinary meeting for governors on Wednesday night to discuss the school's options and said he had already been inundated with letters from concerned parents and governors.

Meanwhile, local residents have started a petition against the mast and had gathered almost 100 signatures by Tuesday.

T Mobile has not yet submitted an application for the mast but pre-application guidelines suggest it should inform those living in the area.

Stuart Wellman, of Ardent Property and Planning, which is acting as agents for T Mobile, said the company put up notices on telegraph poles and wrote to the district council as well as the school.

However, the school was on half-term last week and Mr Smith said he only learned of the plans through district council leader Sarah Content.

District councillor Ernie Clark, who is also chairman of Hilperton Parish Council, said he had started a campaign to inform residents because he believes T Mobile's consultation was inadequate.

"There is no footpath near the notices and no one really looks at notices on poles," he said.

"I sent out a couple of hundred leaflets and have had quite a response already.

"The real concern is there is no real proof that radio waves that come from these things aren't in the long term. We don't know the long term side effects.

"I can't believe this is the best site they can find. There must be a better location out there."

Mr Wellman said the company had considered other locations but considered the Hilperton site the most suitable. He said: "The mast looks like a replica lamppost. It is 12m tall and does not cause visual intrusion," adding that the mast is low powered and would emit 347 times below the maximum permitted levels of radio exposure.

# West Wiltshire District Council has received notifcation T Mobile also intend to put up a mast about a mile from Trowle Common, Trowbridge on land owned by Wessex Water.

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