18
Jan
2006

Orange coshed

By Justin Dunn

The Wirral Globe 18.01.06

A MASS protest has been held outside a church which still has a mobile phone mast hidden in its belltower.

Scores of people descended on Manor Church Centre in Wallasey on Sunday as services took place inside.

The protestors - made up of local residents, politicians from both Labour and the Conservatives, and local schoolchildren and their parents - are furious that mobile giant Orange was allowed to bypass normal planning laws to install a mast in the church using an "ecclesiastical exemption" loophole.

The church itself - initially supportive of the mast because it receives £6,000 a year from the company - now wants it removed.

It even took the dramatic step of changing the locks so that Orange could not gain access to its own equipment. But when lawyers stepped in they were forced to allow the firm back inside the bulding.

The mast - installed to help transmission of new so-called 3G technology - has not yet been switched on.

And local campaigner Dr Tom Bolton told the Globe: "We will fight on and on to make sure it never is turned on.

"It beggars belief that the thing was ever installed in the first place and Orange simply has to remove it.

"The church has a children's day centre just yards away from the transmitter and we can only imagine what harm that could do if it was ever actually activated.

"We are not going to go away on this - everybody is in it for the long haul."

The protest attracted interest from Granada TV, who included it in their weekend news bulletins.
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