28
Feb
2005

Concern over church phone masts: Fury as vicar claims mast 'a gift from God'

Send an email with your opinion about this case to:

St Augustine of Hippo
Edgbaston, Birmingham
http://www.findachurch.co.uk/cgi-bin/churchemail.cgi?churchid=sp08/staugustine


Feb 28 2005

A Birmingham vicar who claims that cash secured from a plan to install a mobile phone mast in his church spire would be a "gift from God" has sparked fury among residents.

The Rev Matthew Tomlinson, left, the vicar at St Augustine's Church in Edgbaston, has angered residents by dismissing health concerns associated with phone masts.

He rejected city council rules that his Grade II listed building would need planning consent for the mast, which could bring in about £5,000 a year in rent for the church.

The Anglican church, which is situated in a conservation area on Lyttelton Road, has been identified by agents acting for the Archbishop's Council as a suitable location for a lucrative phone mast.

The Parochial Church Council, which runs the church, has agreed for the building to house a phone mast. However, residents said they opposed the plan.

Doreen Whitehouse, who lives in nearby Melville Road, said: "These mobile phone companies say that the masts are not bad for your health, but I am not convinced. I can see the spire of the church from my window and I am very opposed to this plan."

Rev Tomlinson said: "We are exempt from planning permission because the building is owned by the Church of England. It just needs the permission of the chancellor of the diocese."

http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/eveningmail/news/tm_objectid=15240920%26method=full%26siteid=50002%26headline=fury%2das%2dvicar%2dclaims%2dmast%2d%2da%2dgift%2dfrom%2dgod%2d-name_page.html#top


Informant: Sylvie


Church 'gift from God' fury at mast

Feb 28 2005

By Neil Connor, Birmingham Post

A vicar who claims that cash secured from a plan to install a mobile phone mast in his church spire would be a "gift from God" has sparked fury among residents.

The Rev Matthew Tomlinson, the vicar at St Augustine's Church in Edgbaston, has angered residents by dismissing health concerns associated with phone masts.

He rejected city council rules that his Grade II listed building would need planning consent for the mast, which could bring in about £5,000 a year in rent for the church.

The Anglican church, which is situated in a conservation area on Lyttelton Road, has been identified by agents acting for the Archbishop's Council as a suitable location for a lucrative phone mast.

The Parochial Church Council, which runs the church, has agreed for the building to house a phone mast. However, residents said they opposed the plan.

Doreen Whitehouse, who lives in nearby Melville Road, said: "These mobile phone companies say that the masts are not bad for your health, but I am not convinced.

"I can see the spire of the church from my window and I am very opposed to this plan."

A city council spokeswoman confirmed that planning permission would be required if the project was to be given the go-ahead as the building is listed and is situated in a conservation area.

But Rev Tomlinson said: "We are exempt from planning permission because the building is owned by the Church of England. It just needs the permission of the chancellor of the diocese.

"The mast would be in the cone of the spire. We have been approached by an intermediary company working on behalf of the Archbishop's Council.

"They have identified this church as a site that would be appropriate for a mobile phone company. And this church has said that we would be happy for such a plan.

"At the moment there has been no mobile telephone company that has approached us. But if we did receive a rent we would recognise that as a gift from God to help us carry out the mission of the church."

Rev Tomlinson said consulting with residents would be the responsibility of the "intermediary company".

He dismissed health worries, saying: "There are not any health concerns from masts that are not already present with numerous appliances and communications that are already in existence, such as microwaves."

Coun Deirdre Alden (Con Edgbaston) said: "I really do think there are too many phone masts going up. They seem to be everywhere and something needs to be done about them."

http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/post/tm_objectid=15240619%26method=full%26siteid=50002%26headline=church--gift-from-god--fury-at-mast-name_page.html



I find it disconcerting that vicars can please themselves if they want a mast on their church or not. I can remember that when we had the seminar at the house of commons in '99 there was a church of england representative who said that he would be recommending that churches should not be used for the siting of masts. I wonder what happened to that resolve. Maybe its time for an all out attack on the ruling bodies of the C of E. The congregation numbers are already down so I wonder how they would feel if we made an issue to churchgoers to boycott any church that had a mast on it?

sueferg



Sue,

The vicar can recommend approval but does not have the final say - that rests with the Chancellor of the Diocese and it is up to members of the public to represent their opposition to this individual and, just to make sure they're heard, the bishop himself.

It's a shame that so-called 'men of God' show themselves just as corruptible as their lay brethren who see nothing but the 'pound signs' - and eschew the concerns of all those who have the temerity to complain. So the Reverend Matthew Tomlinson has described the rent income as 'a gift from God'. A gift from the devil would be a more appropriate description in the circumstances. Let us hope that this fool has good reason to regret his un-Christian action. I have no such qualms.

David B



Another Church Mast

We live in a small town call Longridge in Lancashire. We have been campaigning since October 2004 to prevent our local Church from having a mast installed inside the church tower. It will be a new 2 G and 3G mast sharing system where up to 5 operators will be able transmitt etc from the one mast. We failed to get it refused by the planning committee because as it will be hidden there will be no loss of visual amenity and health issues can no longer be used as material planning objections. We have managed to get a stay of execution as we put it because of gods little creatures Bats in the belfry. They have to wait until April before they can conduct a survey to check our claims of bat roosts but time is now running out as we go into March. We have managed to get frequent articles in our local paper to try to keep pressure up in the local community and of course to the church and have been conducting a paper exersise with the Chancellor who is not prepared to listen to a single written word. We are presently composing a letter to all the members of the PCC and Church school governers. We live in the shadow of the church tower about 100 meters away and our son goes to the Church Primary school. If anyone has any ideas on what we can do next please let us have them. It would appear that the people left in the congregation are all supporters of the Vicar and the mast but very few actually live as close as we do as they have to drive to Church. The Vicar is not to worried about that as he is looking forward to his pot of money. Our local MP Nigel Evans has payed us lip service as when it means going against the Church he is not to keen, we have not heard from him since the beginning of December.

Debby and Karl



If it's any use, I had this letter published in the Church of England newspaper:
http://www.tetrawatch.net/papers/cofe_newspaper.pdf

Andy



Debby and Karl,

Welcome. I note your remark to Sue about having only 28 days to make representation to the Chancellor but would suggest this timescale to be superfluous if he is so hell-bent on agreeing to the mast.

Characteristically, the local authority gave in very easily; it might well be that visual intrusion does not apply but there will most certainly be a loss of amenity. Moreover, it is manifestly not true to say that health concerns no longer constitute a material planning consideration. You say that up to five operators will be able to transmit from the same mast. Remember that consent given to the principal operator is not transferable - each code operator will require separate consent.

Herewith an an e-mail from Grahame Blackwell that has a direct relevance to your particular case; indeed, it could have been written in respect of your own vicar. Of particular importance is Grahame's attachment.

I suspect that you have already lobbied the bishop - perhaps it is now time to send this to him (covered by the text below).

http://www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/five_mast_studies.doc

Omega see also under:
http://www.buergerwelle.de/body_science.html

Regards.

David Baron



I have just read, with some distaste, your story (sent to me by a friend) of the vicar who considers that a phone mast in his church spire would be "a gift from God."

The Rev Matthew Tomlinson appears indifferent to the well-founded and legitimate concerns of his 'flock' who live around the church. In this respect he surely disqualifies himself for the post he holds.

For your information I am attaching to this email a document detailing FIVE scientific studies of health effects of mobile phone masts. To the best of my knowledge they are the only such studies. Without exception they ALL show ill-health effects on people close to masts. I would challenge the Rev Tomlinson to find ONE study on mast effects that does NOT show such ill-health consequences.

http://www.buergerwelle.de/pdf/five_mast_studies.doc

Omega see also under:
http://www.buergerwelle.de/body_science.html

Regrettably it seems that Rev Tomlinson and his superiors have their eyes on the cash rather than their mission. The Bible tells of only one time that Jesus showed anger - that was when he chased the profiteering traders out of the temple. Do these church officials really believe in their own message? Does God really need the money from firms who flout planning law and ride roughshod over local communities to keep His work on earth going?

Rev Tomlinson seems as ill-informed about Divine Providence as he clearly is about phone mast health research. Perhaps the solution to the perceived financial problem lies not in harbouring a potential health hazard but rather in restricting the ecclesiastical payroll to those who practise what they preach.

Sincerely

(Dr) Grahame Blackwell



The vicar of our local church did her level best to keep meetings about the proposed mast secret and it fell to an adjacent householder to put up a large notice on her gate telling people to write to the diocese. We found all the church-related people to be distinctly unpleasant, some of them downright hostile and it has caused a permanent schism in the road. So much for Christian brother/sisterhood. They definitely couldn't see further than the £ signs.

Another Oxford church has just had a mast refused because its spire made it a listed building. It's worth pursueing every avenue. We found the local newspaper happy to take up the moral argument and publicise our case. Good luck.



Debby & Carl
Your vicar obviously dismisses the warnings from eminent scientists around the world - and even our own Govenment's adviser on the subject. I would challenge him on whether he has looked into the facts or has he just taken the word of the phone company. Give them facts and put them on notice. They cannot then say that they did not know. Is he aware that many insurance companies are not prepared to cover any ill health or loss of property value in the event of future claims. Have they checked their own insurance? Landowners are risking losing everything when a firm link is established (which will be sooner rather than later!)

Perhaps it should be suggested that this is the right time of year for the temptation??? Will they be found wanting??

Sylvia


From Mast Network



Cell towers now hide in plain sight
http://omega.twoday.net/stories/558733/

Hidden Church masts
http://omega.twoday.net/stories/495328/

Masts on Churches
http://www.mastsanity.org/actions/church.htm

Mobile Phone Masts Go Undercover
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,1235373,00.html

Concern over church phone masts
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1972913.stm

MOBILE PHONE MASTS IN CHURCH SPIRES AND TOWERS
http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/masts.htm

Anger at church phone mast disguised by cross
http://iccheshireonline.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100regionalnews/tm_objectid=15139848&method=full&siteid=50020&headline=anger-at-church-phone-mast-disguised-by-cross-name_page.ht

Concern over church phone masts
http://groups.msn.com/Resolve/phonemasts.msnw

Churches and Cell Towers
http://members.aol.com/gotemf/emf/churches.htm

Cellular Phone: Phone Masts in Church Spires
http://www.feb.se/EMFguru/CellPhone/cell-church.html

See further under: http://www.google.de/search?hl=de&q=Church+Phone+Masts&btnG=Google-Suche&meta=
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