Football pitch phone mast anger

HAYLEY MACE

19 April 2007 19:07

Residents and councillors are up in arms about plans for a phone mast to be built at a sports ground where young children play football.

The application for a 15m mobile phone mast at the Maltings Meadow football ground in Ditchingham, near Bungay, has been criticised by villagers.

Permission for a floodlight on the site has already been granted and new plans aim to incorporate the phone aerial into the light's structure.

Ditchingham Dam resident Malcolm Porter said: “This is a blot on the landscape. We are also very concerned about the health and safety issues with this being a sports field where children of all ages enjoy the open space for sporting activities, and we are concerned for our own welfare.”

Sandra Forder, a mother of two who will be the closest neighbour to the mast, said in a letter of opposition: “We do not know the risks of having these poles in close proximity to children, and I certainly do not want to find out.”

Cliff Kerry, who lives on Pirnhow Street, said: “This will be placed where young children play football and other sports. Our main concern is for those children who play on the site and who live in surrounding houses.”

Ditchingham Parish Council unanimously opposed the plans and said the site was “not suitable”, but the Broads Society and South Norfolk Council's environmental services department raised no objections.

T-Mobile, which began consultations about possible sites in the area in October, said: “Operators need to provide a high-quality service, which includes the need to meet customer demands. It was necessary to look for a non-residential area that was sufficiently close to the village to provide the necessary coverage and to ensure that a decent distance could be maintained from houses.

“This will be in the south-east corner of the football pitch, which is furthest from the public highway and a considerable distance from the main built-up area of Ditchingham, and will blend in well with the other floodlights.

“The parish council has raised health and safety concerns but the mast has been certified as within the public radiation exposure limits recommended by the European Union.”

Omega read "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under: //omega.twoday.net/stories/771911/

Jon Fuller, chairman of the Bungay and District Sports Association, which runs the ground, said: “This is not our application. If it is approved, then it will be built along with the new floodlight.”

Several other suggested sites in the Ditchingham area were considered but rejected by T-Mobile. A possible site at Broome village hall was rejected by the parish council as it is close to a playground, and another at Broome hospital was turned down by the hospital.

A decision will be made by the Broads Authority's planning committee.

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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