...now a phone mast

10 May 2007

A village famous for toads and turbines is at the centre of a rumpus over telecommunications and a tower.

Mobile phone mast opponents are rallying against a proposal to site masts and equipment inside Winterton Parish Church's 132ft high flint-flecked tower - one of the tallest in the county.

Rising magnificently over seven levels, the tower has been targeted by QS4 whose offer is being considered by church officials who are having to balance local feeling and its accounts.

But the proposal has sparked concern and a petition with opponents saying they were mainly worried about health issues and fears about harmful emissions close to homes and a school.

However, agents for QS4,

the Church of England's approved telecommunications installer, have told borough planners they do not need consent to install the four 29m antennae, which involves swapping the existing flagpole with a T-Mobile one, because there is already something there.

The phone company's proposal, which is thought to offer annual rents worth thousands of pounds, is believed to be the first made to a church in the borough.

Last night Father Adrian Ling, priest in charge at Holy Trinity and All Saints, said: “It's all very much in its early stages. We have been approached to house a mobile phone mast in the tower. It is something we have been asked to think about and we are considering it.”

He added he had been assured that 200m was a safe distance away for the local school and stressed the proposal did not threaten plans to reopen the tower which was closed around 10 years ago amid mounting health and safety legislation.

Senior borough planner Dean Minns said: “There is no formal application at the moment. What these companies do is make a pre-application consultation. This is a Grade 1 listed building so we have to look at that in context.”

Central heating engineer Bob Bolch who lives nearby said QS4 had distributed a “very limited” number of letters and given an “unreasonably short” deadline of May 18 for public consultation.

He said: “A large number of residents in Winterton are extremely concerned and feelings are running high regarding the proposal.

“Many residents are still unaware of the proposal and the potential health risks associated with such an installation.”

The company is being pressed for a public meeting.

Copyright © 2006 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.



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