Fury over council-approved mast

Berrylands residents are organising a petition against a mobile phone mast application approved by the council.

They are also furious because they claim there was not enough consultation about the siting of the eight-metre Orange mast in Raeburn Avenue.

Approval for the mast was granted at a Surbiton Neighbourhood Committee meeting on January 26.

The 56 days allowed for objections expires tomorrow. Twenty-one objections were received on grounds of health risk and visual impact.

Sam Saber, manager of Raeburn Autos, said: "I object to the mast on health grounds because there is no scientific evidence that masts are not harmful."

Vanessa Bulbeck, of Meldone Close, claimed many of the residents in the 123 households consulted received a council letter on January 20 about the mast which was dated January 6. This left them just six days before the meeting.

Jim Keywood, who lives in nearby Austin Gardens, said: "We are being rode rough-shod over by the council approving this application."

Surbiton Councillor Patricia Franks said: "The objection is the siting of the mast very near dwellings. But the council cannot object apart from visual impact on surroundings.

"We cannot cite health hazards as a factor because Government guidelines claim they are safe."

The mast is intended to improve coverage from Surbiton Hill Park to the junction of Raeburn Avenue with Elgar Avenue, bounded to the east by Elmbridge Avenue and west by Manor Drive.

An Orange spokesman said: "This is a small transmitter, which needs to be within a few hundred metres of phone-users.

"Because more and more people are buying mobile phones, we need more transmitters for them to work.

"There is no evidence that mobile phone masts cause health risks, given the existing level of precautions."

A council spokeswoman said: "As we didn't receive any objections which raised new planning considerations, prior approval is not required for the siting and appearance of the proposed equipment.

4:01pm Thursday 17th February 2005


Informant: Sandi

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Februar 2005

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