Mast battle victory

Oct 14 2005

By Sonia Sharma,
Newcastle Evening Chronicle

Jubilant families have won their battle to stop a mobile phone mast being put on top of a church.

Vodafone UK wanted to put up three antennae and a dish on the tower of Crawcrook Pentecostal Church, Kepier Chare, Crawcrook.

The tower is 11.6m high and the proposed addition would take it to 15.7m.

But more than 1,000 people signed a petition against the application and the proposal was turned down by Gateshead Council's planning and development committee on Wednesday.

Residents said the structure would not be acceptable in a residential area and may have health risks. They also felt property values of the houses nearby would be affected.

The Lindisfarne Care Home, on Kepier Chare, also lodged objections. The home has 53 people, many with Alzheimer's disease.

Today Elizabeth Squires, who lives next to the church and helped to collect signatures, said: "We are absolutely delighted. Everyone is elated the committee rejected the plan.

"There were so many people against it. We felt there could have been health risks from the mast but also that it was not suitable in a residential area. The mast would have looked dreadful. It would have been a monstrosity."

Alison Bell, 37, a sales assistant, lives directly opposite the church and the tower can be seen through her three-year-old son Luke's bedroom window. She said: "It would have been an eyesore."

But Arthur Jowett, chairman of trustees at the church, did not object. He said: "Once I was against mobile phone masts but now every person on the street has a mobile and you can see every child texting their friends."

A Vodafone spokeswoman said the antennae would have been concealed inside the tower and all equipment complies with guidelines to protect the population.

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

The committee turned down the application on the grounds of visual amenity. It was felt the structure would be too dominating.


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Oktober 2005

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