Mast plan angers residents

By Andrew Ffrench

Residents in North Oxford are protesting against plans for a mobile telephone mast near the entrance to a recreation ground.

T-Mobile has notified Oxford City Council that it plans to erect the 30ft high mast outside the Five Mile Drive playing fields, in Cutteslowe.

Five Mile Drive residents are protesting against the plans and have notified the Summertown Stars football club, which uses the ground.

Residents held a meeting on Monday to discuss the best way to protest against the mast, and have been told to make their objections known to the council by March 25.

Dominique Barrett and husband Chris, of Five Mile Drive, said at least 30 residents were opposed to the plan and the number was growing.

Mrs Barrett said: "The mast will be right by the gate that leads into the recreation ground and I don't think it should be so close to a children's play area.

"There's no proof that there are health risks associated with mobile phone masts, but there's no proof otherwise at the moment.

"There are other sites the company could choose. I don't think it's right to have the mast so near where children play football and so close to people's homes."

Mr Barrett added: "There's a lovely line of cherry trees along Five Mile Drive - Japanese tourists come and photograph them when they are in bloom - and this mast, which will have an ugly box of tricks at its base, will not be in keeping with the style of the road."

Alan Glanville, 64, who lives opposite the mast site, added: "It would look completely out of place in this tree-lined street.

"I have got seven grandchildren who come here and we would rather not have the mast so close to our house."

Mobile phone companies have permitted development rights to erect phone masts below 50ft in height, which means they do not need planning permission.

T-Mobile planning consultant Richard Nash told the city council that the mast was needed to improve 3G mobile phone coverage.

He added that the company planned to paint the mast and cabinet green "in order to further reduce their limited impact".

Last July, the council passed a motion that phone companies should warn people about their proposals, regardless of whether planning permission was needed.

The vote came after protests brought a halt to proposals to build masts at the Marlborough House pub, in Grandpont, and the Chester Arms, off Iffley Road.

T-Mobile agreed to review its plans and put the installations on hold after hundreds of people turned out at public meetings to oppose masts being put on the pubs.

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