PLEDGE TO FIGHT PHONE MAST 'TOOTH AND NAIL'

08:00 - 16 April 2007

Concerns have been raised about plans to install a mobile phone mast next to a children's play park in Oldfield Park.

Phone company T Mobile has applied to Bath and North East Somerset Council for permission to put up a 15m tall mast with three antennas, along with an equipment cabinet, at Monksdale Road next to The Sandpits children's play area.

But neighbours have raised formal objections to the proposal and other local people have raised concerns.

Oliver Lindburg, of Monksdale Road, said: "I am anxious about the possible effect of this on a child. The health risks may not have been proven - there is less money put into investigating this than into developing the business of mobile phones."

Oldfield Park businessman and chairman of Moorland Road Traders' Association Barry Cruse said: "My immediate reaction is that this is right next to a children's playground and in a very populated residential area.

"It's not on. I'm sure it will be fought tooth and nail. The trouble with these sorts of applications is not enough people know about it before it happens.

"Hopefully we can make a stand and get everybody involved.

"It will affect everybody as everybody sends their kids to play in Sandpits and I'm sure they would think twice about letting their children play there if there was a phone mast right next to it."

T Mobile wants to install the mast to fill a hole in its network coverage of The Oval and Moorfields areas. The company investigated and rejected as unsuitable, for a variety of reasons, 13 other potential sites.

In a statement to the council it acknowledged that people were likely to raise concerns about the issue and said it had discussed the issue with planning officers and local councils. It said it had concluded that the plot was the best site available and that the visual impact of the mast could be shielded. It added there were no proven health risks.

The site is next to an allotments site and Bath Allotments Association has told the council it believes the land should be used for more allotments.

The proposed installation meets government health and safety guidelines.

Under current rules, the council could only refuse planning permission for the mast on grounds of siting and appearance.

b.murch @bathchron.co.uk

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