Phone mast plan fury

Rustington residents and school children protesting about the proposed mobile phone mast in North Lane

FAMILIES are fighting a proposed mobile phone mast yards from a children's play area and close to two Rustington primary schools.
No official application has been made to Arun District Council, and the first anyone knew of the plan was when a notice appeared on the gate of a Southern Water pumping station next to the Brickfields recreation area, off North Lane.

More than 100 people have signed a petition against the mast and Rustington Parish Council will discuss it as an emergency item at its meeting on Monday night.

Mary-Ann Wood, of North Lane, one of the organisers of the petition, said: "With the children's park and the schools nearby, we don't want this. The park is used by so many children, it's just irresponsible to even think of having a mast there.

"If it hadn't been for our 12-year-old grand-daughter, Laura, we wouldn't have seen the notice. It was white, rather than orange, like the Arun planning notices, and so small you couldn't see it from any distance. She said to us: 'Look. Nana, what they are doing.'

"Apart from the play area, the pumping station backs on to four gardens, including ours, and would be only yards from our home.

"I've written to the company on the notice and we are getting as many people to sign the petition as we can. I feel very strongly about this. There's no proof that these masts don't cause cancer."

Government guidelines say schools must be notified if applications are submitted for sites nearby, but it's not known whether Rustington Community Primary School or Summerlea Primary Schools, which is further away, would be within the distance required.

Rustington Parish Council recently objected to plans for a mast in The Street because there are several nurseries and pre-school groups within a short distance.

Tara Holmes, a parent at Rustington Primary, said she was concerned about the long-term effects of radiation from phone masts. "I don't know what emissions it would be giving out. I just don't think it's safe.

"These masts should be in the middle of nowhere, or at least well away from residential areas and definitely away from children, while their brains are developing.

"There are a lot of worried mums talking about this at the school gates."

Neither T-Mobile not its telecommunications consultant W H P Wilkinson Helsby was available to comment on the families' concerns.

An Arun planning spokeswoman confirmed no formal application for the mast had been received. She suggested letters should be sent directly to the address on the white site notice. Arun will not consider any comments until an application has been received.

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