School applications hit by mast plan

by Colleen McDonnell

APPLICATIONS to attend Hampton Junior School are being withdrawn by parents who fear the mobile phone mast located 10 metres away from the playground may be approved for yet another upgrade. Recognised as one of the best primary schools in the borough, the school is now facing a growing number of parents so strongly opposed to the 23-metre 3G Vodafone mast that they no long wish their send their children to school there.

Local parents and residents, Catriona Nason and Cassandra Wilcox, have set up Hampton Parents Against Ashley Road Phone Mast, to get the mast removed.

Dr Vincent Cable, MP, will be speaking at the group's next meeting on Wednesday evening at the school. He will be explaining some of the legislative background and discussing other instances of contested masts in the local area.

Mrs Wilcox said: "Hampton Junior School is one of the best in the borough. It is unacceptable that parents like myself are forced to choose between their children's health and education. The mast must be moved. We demand that Richmond council and the LEA work with Vodafone to find an alternative site.

"I want to ensure that the lives of our children and future generations are not endangered by mobile phone masts. I deplore the way this government and local planning authorities are ignoring the valid fears of the people they purport to serve."

The mast was first installed in 1994 and moved to its current position in 1997. The mast was later upgraded to a higher strength for 3G technology.

Mrs Nason, chair of Hampton Junior School Association said: "The school is by far the best Junior School in the borough and we have decided to take our children there due to its excellent reputation, results and atmosphere. My children love the school and the teachers. The mast should be re-sited to ensure parents never have to make such a decision."

The next public meeting will be on Wednesday, March 2 at 8pm at Hampton Junior School. All are welcome. The campaign website www.mast-campaign.com will be online in the first week of March.

3:17pm Thursday 24th February 2005

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Februar 2005

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