Joy as mast bid turned down

01 December 2005 13:36

Moves to install a mobile phone mast on top of a church have been blocked after worried families opposed the scheme.

Phone giant 3G was consulting people in Lakenham about putting a mobile phone mast on top of St John's Church in Howard Road.

The proposed mast would have been close to the the back garden of mother-of-two Naomi Leeder, 27, who collected about 150 names on a petition against it.

The plans were discussed by St John's parochial church council on Monday night and turned down.

If it had gone ahead the church would have been paid about £5,000 by the phone company.

Rev Katharine Lovesey, curate at St John's church and St Paul's church, Tuckswood, said: "We were approached by the phone company. They said they considered the church to be a perfect place for a mast.

"We were looking into it and sent out a letter asking people what they thought about the idea.

"Naomi was very helpful with what she did, giving us a good view of what people around us did not want.

"Given the response, at a meeting of the parochial church council on Monday night, we decided that the mast would not be appropriate and that is the end of it.

"We would have been paid £5,000 which would have gone towards church running costs. But the church is not just about money."

Mrs Leeder, of Osbert Close, was delighted with the result.

She said: "It's great news and proves that all the work I put in, going round to people's houses to get their signatures, was worth it."

She said previously that she would have moved if the mast had been built.

"My eldest, six-year-old Rose, has only got one kidney and my three-year-old, Charlotte, has chronic asthma and eczema, so I did want any more health risks on my doorstep," she added.

Mrs Leeder, who lives with her husband Jamie, also 27, a taxi driver, was mainly concerned about the possible health risks, particularly cancer.

Mike Davies, community affairs manager at Hutchison 3G, said: "We need coverage in the area and to do that we have to find a suitable site, but if the PCC are not prepared to take it forward that option is not available."

The Evening News has campaigned through our Put Masts On Hold campaign against the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe.

Dr Ian Gibson, Norwich North MP, and long-time supporter of our campaign, said he was pleased with the result.

Five years ago controversy was sparked when Norwich's Catholic Cathedral put up a phone mast at the top of its tower.

Are you fighting a mobile phone mast application? Call David Bale on (01603) 772427 or e-mail david.bale2@archant.co.uk



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