Fears over mast plans

By Ellie Simmonds

Proposals to extend a mobile phone mast near Bicester town centre have sparked concern among councillors.

Mobile phone company Orange wants to replace a 15m mast on land off Alchester Terrace with a 20m one.

Bicester Town Council has decided to object to the plans. Councillor Nick Cotter, whose Bicester South ward includes the mast, said: "There are concerns about these masts."

He raised fears about so-called cancer clusters which, it has been alleged, occur around masts. He said: "Two of my kids go to St Mary's School and there's a huge great mast there. I just think we should find out more about these things."

Fellow councillor Les Sibley said: "We should ask for a risk assessment. We want to know what impact these masts will actually have on people's health."

But town clerk Anne Wilson said in a letter accompanying the application that Orange had claimed that its design of mast had already won local authority approval.

Newly-elected councillor Nicholas Mawerok said: "Orange coverage within Bicester isn't particularly strong. There are areas in some estates where you can't get any coverage whatsoever. The business community would probably welcome some coverage."

Councillors voted to pass their concerns on to Cherwell District Council, which will make a final decision on the plans.

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