Residents' groups take on mobile phone firms

Date published: Saturday 23 April 2005

Battle lines have been drawn on two fronts by protestors opposing mobile phone masts in Abingdon, claiming they are a health risk and can depress property prices.

A residents' group, celebrating after blocking one mast, is now focusing its attention on removing an existing structure, while another alliance is opposing plans for a mast on the Oxford Road roundabout.

People living in Galley Fields, off Radley Road , have won their campaign to block a 15-metre mast going up near their homes, but still want an existing mast taken down.

The Galley Fields Residents' Association objected to a new O2 phone mast on land at Allens Motors at the Radley Road industrial estate.

The Vale of White Horse District Council has vetoed the mast on the grounds that it would have been an eyesore and too close to homes.

The decision was welcomed by residents' association chairman Ernie Wright.

He said: "We are delighted that the council has agreed with our concerns. To have allowed another mast not far from the existing one would have been too much and could have been harmful.

"Now we have won this battle we plan to continue our fight to get the existing one removed. It's been up for seven years, towering over nearby homes."

Mike Gilbert, the district council's development control manager, said: "When the mast was put up it did not need planning permission. Orange consulted the council but at the time we decided not to object. No decision has been taken about re-siting it but clearly the cost implications would have to be examined."

Meanwhile people living near the roundabout at the top of Oxford Road are opposing plans to build a 12-metre pole for Vodafone.

Derek Lewis, of Alexander Close, says residents are worried that radio waves emitted by the mast could be a health risk.

Mr Lewis, who has a two-year-old-son, said: "I have looked at many conflicting reports and, until this is proved for sure, it would make sense to limit the distance from a residential area that they can be erected."

Mr Lewis added: "Estate agents also tell me that the proximity of masts has a bad effect on property prices."



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