Residents' horror at mast approval

Bridgnorth Journal 30.09.05

A controversial mobile phone mast will be built in the centre of Bridgnorth after being passed “through the back door” at an appeal hearing, it is claimed.

Plans to install the mast on top of the New Road telephone exchange were refused by councillors in February.

But they have now been passed at a planning appeal — much to the surprise of residents and councillors.

People living around the telephone exchange made their views against the mast clear, but an appeal on August 24 went against Bridgnorth Town Council and the district council’s decisions and granted permission.

The application is by telecommunication company “3” to install a flagpole, housing three antennae, on the telephone exchange to boost signals for mobile phone users.

Town and district councillor, Brian Jones, said he was very disappointed with the outcome of the appeal.

“It is almost literally through the back door,” he said. “I certainly wasn’t aware of it until I read the planning minutes and I don’t think people are aware of it. “I don’t think they will be very happy about it. I know it was campaigned against quite vigorously.

“We got views from local residents and virtually 100 per cent said they were against it.

“The whole population of Bridgnorth is pretty much against it so I am dismayed to see it has gone through on appeal.”

Councillor Jones said both the town and district council planning committees voted unanimously to refuse the proposal, saying it would spoil the historic skyline of Bridgnorth.

And he said despite being a member of the district planning committee, he had no idea the appeal was taking place.

“I shall be asking the question at the next meeting why we were not informed,” he added.

East Castle Street resident Kinda Ireland said she was very angry at the way the decision had been made.

“Why the inspector even bothered to come and have a look is a mystery. The government has its own agenda of agreeing to these masts and what local councillors and residents think doesn’t make any difference.”

Another resident, Doreen Watkiss, said she felt sorry for her neighbours in the street who had children as there were still worries about whether the masts contributed to leukaemia.

“It is also going to be very visible from the approach to the town. Bridgnorth is an old place, and we do not want these obstacles on the skyline.”

Campaigner Joe Anson said local people were not happy about the application. “I suppose they will be sprouting up all over the town like mushrooms now,” he said.

Les Jones of Jones Electrical in East Castle Street said he wasn’t convinced by claims that the mast would be safe.

“In our line of work you get to know about radiation, and you get a lot of warm radiation just from a mobile phone. I think the damage from a mast like this could be quite serious.”

When the application was made, Verity Stanford, spokesman for 3, said the mast would be operated well below the indicated emission guidelines.

Omega read: "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" http://omega.twoday.net/stories/771911/


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September 2005

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