Library mast leading to fury

Disgruntled residents have vowed to oppose an application to build a mobile phone mast in their community.

Phone giant Vodafone wants to erect the 13.3 metre monopole on council-owned land next to the library in Ribbleton Avenue, Ribbleton, Preston.

Local people have drawn up petitions against the proposal and say a phone mast should not be put up in a residential area. The application was lodged with the city council on Wednesday February 2 and is expected to go before the planning committee on March 7. A total of 55 letters were sent out to residents and businesses – including a day nursery and district housing office within a 100-metre radius of the site.

Mum-of-two Julie Teeling, 36, of nearby Acer Grove, Ribbleton, said: "Why do they want to put a mobile phone mast in the middle of a deeply populated area? Why has it got to be so close to amenities children attend, like the library? "It's beyond comprehension. The health risks of mobile phone radiation exposure are not yet known. "I don't want to find out in 10 or 15 years time my children are suffering from illness. Most of the residents are very concerned. I'm urging everyone to write in letters of objection."

Neighbour Debbie Hunt, 38, said: "I have not had one person say to me they are in favour of it. Everyone uses mobile phones, but they think there's better places to put it than here.

"They are concerned about the children, vandalism and house prices. "My husband is furious. He thinks it will de-value the homes. Even though there's no proven health risk it's enough to frighten people away. He's asking will they compensate us?"

A spokesman for Vodafone said: "This is what we call a street-works. They are designed to be in communities. One of the things people aren't aware of is that these are very low powered devices. "They have to be in places where people live and work so that they can use their mobile phones there. "There are very stringent guidelines designed to protect the public. "They protect the public 24 hours a day whether they are one metre or 1,000 metres away from it. "We do understand people's concerns and take them seriously."

The closing date for representations is March 4.
e-mail: emilie.bradshaw@lep.co.uk
21 February 2005

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