Mast victory

* "The reality that phone companies must now face is that people simply do not want these masts placed near their houses or schools."


Dr Miguel Muntané

Mast victory

By Karen Armstrong

RESIDENTS in Woodford Green are celebrating an unexpected victory after phone giant O2 had its planning application for a 50-foot mast thrown out on appeal.

The phone company planned to site the mast in the busy High Road outside someone's house and opposite Bancoft's Secondary School. But O2's appeal was thrown out on the grounds of site and appearance last week.

The site on the stretch of road is just 20 yards from a site for which O2 was refused permission after a campaign two years ago.

Residents handed a petition containing nearly 900 signatures to Redbridge Council to protest against the phone giant's plans.

Key campaigner Rochelle Posner said she and a team of neighbours were delighted with the result as it sent out the right message to phone companies that the 'little people' could fight back.

Woodford Green and Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith joined the residents in their battle and said he was delighted with the result.

He said: "The reality that phone companies must now face is that people simply do not want these masts placed near their houses or schools.

"They are objecting to them all over the country and in the constituency here in Chingford and Woodford Green we had a number of complaints and concerns about these masts and I am pleased that this time we seem to have succeeded and do hope phone companies will recognise that they are not wanted here and move on.

"It is for the Government now to have a complete re-think about the legislation on placing these masts.

"It is quite intolerable that we are forced individually to fight these masts without any real help or support from the Government. It is time to think again."

But Woodford Green residents may not have heard the last of the phone company. An O2 spokesman said: "We are disappointed with the planning inspectorate's decision and we will be looking to go back to the local authority with another application."

3:30am Sunday 5th September 2004

© Copyright 2001-2004 Newsquest Media Group - A Gannett Company



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