27
Sep
2005

'No mast on our road'

Sep 28 2005

Surrey Online

By Patsy Payne

AN HISTORIC tree-lined avenue used by King Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales is under threat from developers anxious to build a radio base station there.

Third generation phone company Hutchison has infuriated residents with its application to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

Householders rallied in force in Ringley Park Avenue, Reigate, recently, to protest at plans for a 12-metre pole with three antennae, an antenna dish and radio equipment housing on the footway immediately south of 2 The Chase.

The Kentish-style house's owners, musicians Lynn and Jonathon Myall, along with their three teenage children, are devastated at the proposal.

They were heartened at the support from their neighbours, who are equally incensed at what they see as a violation of Reigate's historic past.

Almost 200 turned out, complete with banners and "protective" foil indicating their fear at perceived electromagnetic field health risks associated with 3G masts.

Although these are not yet recognised in England, a report by the Government's Health Protection Agency, due out next month, is expected to state that increasing numbers of British people are suffering from electrosensitivity - a heightened reaction to electrical energy such as that emitted from mobile phones, electricity pylons and computer screens. Symptoms include nausea, headaches and muscle pain, memory loss and dizziness.

Mrs Myall said: "Although we can only officially object on siting and location, we intend to raise the health risk element, now Britain is to join Sweden in recognising electrosensitivity. We planned to see our days out here, but if this goes up we would have to move. I couldn't risk it for my children and my grandchildren."

The site is also on the main approach to Dunottar School.

Jean Hobson, the headmistress, said: "My main concern is for the health of the pupils. We have insufficient evidence about the long-term effect of radiation from these masts."

But the aesthetics of the proposal and its intrusion on the avenue of chestnut trees in a popular walk, is causing grave concern to groups such as The Reigate Society.

Its new president, Reigate and Banstead MP Crispin Blunt, agrees that the visual impairment would be unwelcome and believes it to be detrimental to the area's character.

He said he was writing to the council to ask that they are satisfied that there is absolutely no technical alternative. "I cannot believe that there is not," his letter says.

Ward councillor for the area Steve Kulka accused Hutchison of misleading residents. He said: "They wrote to residents and said they had liaised with a senior planning officer at the council who felt the proposed site to be the best, giving the impression they had had a long consultation. This is not the case."

Mike Davies, of Hutchison 3G UK, said the firm would have entered into pre-application discussions with council planners. He added: "As a wireless operator we have to comply absolutely with very high scientific standards set by the World Health Organisation. We have been told the result of this results in no adverse health effects to any members of the public living near to one of our sites."

Omega see "The unbridled alliance of science and industry" under:
http://omega.twoday.net/stories/297097/ and "Dirty dealings by Hutchison" under: http://omega.twoday.net/stories/988162/
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