Victory near in phone mast fight

DOMINIC CHESSUM

09 June 2007 11:53

Furious families fighting to stop a mobile phone mast being put up outside their homes are on the verge of victory after council officers said they thought the scheme should be turned down.

A 428-signature petition and 60 letters of objection were submitted to the council following a public outcry from people living in Eaton Street when the application was submitted by phone operator O2 earlier this year.

The telecoms giant said the 17.5m mast was needed after it was told to remove its mast in nearby Newmarket Road by the city council.

But the proposal, which will go before councillors on Tuesday, has been recommended for refusal by the council officers, who advise councillors in their decision making.

Officers say permission should be refused because its height, design and colour would be obtrusive in the Eaton Conservation area and would go against the city's local plan.

Those who have been fighting the proposal welcomed the news, but said it did not necessarily mean the battle was over.

Malcolm Fuller runs the post office in Eaton Street and had the petition in his shop.

He said: “I am surprised and pleased that it could be rejected but they could appeal. The one on South Park Avenue was rejected by the city council but then they got it through on appeal. We will have to wait and see what happens.”

The Evening News' Put Masts On Hold campaign calls for no more masts to be placed near homes or schools until it is proved they are safe.

Jane Rolph, who lives in Eaton, said: “We understand the need for technology and are asking for masts to be placed in a safe zone 500 metres away from populous areas.

“We already have two masts within a hundred metres of the proposed site. We have a choice to smoke or drink, yet in today's health and safety conscious world, how can we have this health risk imposed upon us? It is unforgivable that health risks are not being taken into consideration with phone mast sitings.”

Jim Stevenson, a spokesman for O2, said: “We are surprised they are recommending rejection, simply because we have been talking to the planners for quite a while.”

Are you fighting proposals for a mobile phone mast in your area? Contact reporter Dominic Chessum on 01603 772428 or email dominic.chessum@archant.co.uk

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

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