Derbyshire Evening Telegraph

09:30 - 04 October 2005

Governors are opposing plans to erect a 20- metre mobile phone mast in the grounds of a Derby secondary school.

At least one governor at da Vinci Community College is threatening to resign over the scheme by O2.

The mobile phone company wants to move its existing mast from the school's roof, which is to be demolished in a rebuilding project, to new tennis courts.

But if the move does not go ahead, O2 could claim hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation because it still has 10 years of a 25-year lease to run.

The lease was drawn up with High View School, the previous school at the site in Breadsall Hilltop, which later became da Vinci.

The school's governing body had been unaware of the application and the fact the deadline for objections had passed until informed by the Evening Telegraph. The deadline has now been extended to October 27.

Hazel Till, deputy chairman of the governing body, said: "At least we can now object. There is absolutely no doubt, we don't want this mast in the school grounds.

"With all the talk of possible health risks from mobile phone masts, how can we allow this move to happen?

"It will be our responsibility if there any problems in the future and I would resign rather than have that burden."

Additionally, another planning application from Orange for another mast to be resited from the school roof is also expected imminently.

Councillor Chris Wynn, city council cabinet member for children's services, said: "We all accept this is a very difficult situation, but the contract was arranged by High View School and the masts have been in place for many years."

In accordance with planning laws, the council does not have to take into account any potential health side-effects.

This is despite the much-publicised Stewart Report in 2000 which recommending masts should not be sited in school grounds without the agreement of the school and parents.

A spokeswoman for O2 said: "These masts are greatly needed in the area and are an essential part of the network in Derby."

All mobile phone operators state their masts operate within national safety guidelines.

Omega see "Base Stations, operating within strict national and international Guidelines, do not present a Health Risk?" under:

Several other city schools have phone masts on their roofs, including Derby Moor Community School, Littleover, and Noel-Baker Community School, Alvaston.

The council does not have a specific policy on the placing of mobile phone masts at schools.


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