People power puts 'end' to 3G mast

Mar 2 2005

PLANNING permission for the "third generation" mast was granted to communications firm Hutchison in December by Wealden District Council.

Two weeks ago word of the scheme spread and villagers rallied to halt the project over fears of safety.

On Monday Simon Waters, joint owner of Mid Sussex Timber, disclosed that his company was pulling out but denied he was caving in to public pressure.

He said: "I did say to 3G you've got to convince the village what you are doing is safe and so far no one has been convinced.

"I've been amazed by the strength of feeling about this. I have to say it was a pretty impressive turnout on Friday.

"It has never been the intention to put the health and welfare of the population of Forest Row under any risk perceived or otherwise.

"We have listened to what people have said and I told them then that I wanted a few days to think it over.

"My wife and I spoke to a number of people over the weekend and it became clear to us both that opposition for this project was endemic."

Although no contract had been signed Mr Waters said his firm would have received about £6,000 a year from the agreement.

He added: "The financial consideration is not the be-all-andend-all. "We are part of the community and we want to get on with the community. I think we would have lost the goodwill."

The news has halted plans for another protest due to be held again this Friday.

Organiser Paula Simonis said: "I'm over the moon, overwhelmed.

"I'm very grateful to Mr Waters. Good for him. I don't think he's caved in. I think he's done it with dignity. I truly believe he was not aware of the feelings. Now he's aware of them he's man enough to say he won't put the mast on his land."

But the step has angered Hutchison 3G.

Community affairs manager Mike Davies said: "We are disappointed that Mid Sussex Timber have withdrawn.

"The site was gained democratically, with full planning consent, but mob rule seems to have prevailed in Forest Row.

"Mid Sussex Timber has bowed to pressure which is unfounded and unwarranted. It is the most appropriate site in Forest Row.

"If people are not prepared to understand the reputable science and make their judgments on hearsay and mass conjecture then there's no way you can convince anybody. The science is very strong and valid."

Mr Davies insisted H3G would press on with plans for a mast in the village, adding: "We will be looking at other sites in the area including a network in Forest Row. We are looking at lampposts on the highway. We haven't got any locations yet but that is the scenario that could happen."

From Mast Network


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März 2005

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