Battle renewed over phone mast

07 October 2005 14:42

Protesters who emerged victorious after preventing the expansion of a city phone mast are gearing up for another battle after a telecommunications company launched an appeal against the city council's decision to refuse its application.

The Evening News reported in March how Norwich City Council's planning applications committee went against officers' advice and turned down the application by O2 to add further antennae to the Mousehold Water Tower in Telegraph Lane East, Thorpe Hamlet.

They said the proposal would create an eyesore in the Thorpe Ridge Conservation Area, but the delight which greeted the decision has turned to anger from campaigners who fear O2 will win its appeal to the Planning Inspector and be given the go-ahead to add to the "thorn of crowns" on the locally listed water tower.

"I'm disappointed that we couldn't have kept them from appealing," said David Shailer, of Montcalm Road.

"But we are fighting against multi-million pound organisations and they don't take things lying down in getting planning consent for these masts, which will generate them money."

Mr Shailer, 52, a truck driver, said he did not know when the appeal would be heard, but that he would put his views forward again in time for it.

"I will take a proactive stance to have my say if I can," he said.

"It's a case of we've won the battle but the war has still got to be fought. We just keep plugging away."

More than 100 parents of children at nearby Thorpe Hamlet Middle School signed a petition against the antennae on the tower, which already has 17 dishes on it.

The Evening News has campaigned against the installation of mobile phone masts near homes and schools until it is proved they are safe.

A spokeswoman for O2 said she hoped the appeal lodged with the city council would be successful.

"We don't want to leave that area without any 3G capacity or without excellent coverage," she said. "It really is a key part of the 3G network. The more people use their mobile phones, the more masts we need."

Dr Ian Gibson, MP for North Norwich, said: "Why are they doing it? I don t think they should bother appealing. There are no complaints about reception in that area."

Are you opposing plans to site a phone mast in your neighbourhood? Call Alasdair McGregor at the Evening News on (01603) 772443 or e-mail al.mcgregor@archant.co.uk



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