We will win this phone mast fight

DAVID BALE
23 March 2007 08:45

The fight against phone masts in Earlham Road has returned - this time with telecoms firm O2 appealing against a council decision to refuse permission for a mast.

Two months ago campaigners helped persuade Norwich City Council to turn down O2's plan for a 12.5m mast near schools and homes.

But now the company is appealing that decision to the Government's Planning Inspectorate, and families are gearing up for another battle.

Ward councillor Bert Bremner said: “We have challenged and won against plans for four masts in the area and won two appeals. We hope to win this next battle but time is running out to put in more objections.

“The community objected to these masts simply on planning grounds - the masts with their great big boxes are an eyesore.

“Earlham Road is a wonderful tree-lined residential road, cut through by the Norwich outer ring road. It is at that point that the mast is proposed.

“We are trying to keep the verge free from damage, parking and clutter. The mast and its associated equipment would be an ugly addition to the area. Putting in the mast on the verge, as proposed, would be a visual insult to the community.”

In January the council went against officers' recommendations to approve the mast after more than 40 people raised concerns and planning committee members received 11 letters of objection.

O2's appeal comes a month after campaigners beat a T-Mobile application to install an 11.8m mast near St Anne's Church on Colman Road. City council planners under delegated powers turned that down after more than 100 people objected. However, campaigners fear that if the new appeal were successful it would open the same area to an application by T-Mobile, which could result in two masts being set up.

The proposed O2 mast would be within half a mile of Heigham Park First School and St Thomas More Roman Catholic Primary School and within a mile of Earlham High School, whose deputy head Alan Shawcross expressed concern that a mast could be close to schools.

The Evening News is fighting the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe as part of our Put Masts On Hold campaign.

In January 2005, Sir William Stewart, chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board, published an independent report calling for a precautionary approach to masts near homes and schools. An Evening News investigation in the same month revealed one in five primary schools in Norwich and its suburbs was within the threshold experts claim could put youngsters at risk.

To onbject, write to The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/16 Eagle Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, BRISTOL BS1 6PN, Ref: APP/G2625/A/07/2038177/NWF. The deadline is April 4.

Are you fighting a phone mast application? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2 @archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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