Western Gazette

15:00 - 10 November 2005

Angry residents are due to take their pleas to district planners to stop a controversial phone mast being granted planning permission. Vodafone's plan to site a mast at Arrow Fires, North Mills Trading Estate, Bridport, has caused a storm of protest among nearby residents because of its proximity to a school and a Scout hut used by a nursery group.

Despite a 460-name petition, 41 letters of complaint and fierce objections from town councillors, the district planners look set to give the go-ahead to the 15-metre mast at today's development control west committee meeting.

District and town councillor Sandra Brown said: "I will definitely be going along wearing my hat as governer of St Catherine's Primary School and there are many other parents and local protesters who will be putting across their anger at these plans to the district council."

Planning official Andrew Jordan said: "The application proposes an acceptable form of telecommunications installation having regard to both visual and health considerations, as the proposal accords with Government advice. It is considered that the impact of the proposal on the private and family lives of nearby residents would be safeguarded and the proposal does not impact detrimentally on neighbouring building."

Mr Jordan recommended that district councillors on the development control west committee approve the application but recommended the colour of the mast and ancillary equipment should be agreed.

Town councillors had previously recommended the refusal of planning permission at the council's plans committee meeting in October which was attended by more than 50 residents.

Caroline Edwards of Victoria Grove, who is the co-ordinator of Clean Airwaves for Bridport's Local Environment, said: "It is within 250 metres of St Catherine's Primary School and almost below the site is a Scout hut, which is used in the day by a nursery group.

"Also, the surrounding area is a designated play area. There is a lot of concern."

Paula English said: "The district council has a duty to protect children and the vulnerable. There is a gap in our knowledge about these masts, which justifies caution.

"I have a three-year-old son at St Catherine's Pre-School and I very much want to send him to St Catherine's but, if this mast was erected, I would have to think very carefully about that."

At the meeting district and town councillor Martin Ray had urged the protesters to make their points at the district council.

He said: "The issue of health is such a real concern and times are changing. In a recent case in Charmouth, planning officials only gave a year's planning permission to a similarly controversial mast.

"If the articulate arguments we have heard here are put to the district council then we may stand a chance of getting this refused."


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November 2005

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