Hailsham News


PLANS for a mobile mast near Grovelands school have been thrown out.

Residents from Cameron Close, Grovelands Road and the surrounding area presented a 700-signature petition to the council. And speaking at a planning meeting, committee chairman Dick Angel said there were more objections to Vodafone's application than 'almost any I can remember'. The packed meeting room heard the mobile phone giants didn't need planning permission to put up the mast.

Wealden's planning boss Ian Kaye said, 'The mast was put up on previous permitted development rights. 'And this is a replacement, albeit three metres higher.'

Grovelands school governor Jane Smith spoke out about the application. She said, 'we have concerns regarding the health of the children and the proximity between our pupils and the mast.
'The council should also consider the financial implications for the school.

'The government's chief medical officer recommends that children should not be exposed to mobile phones. 'The granting of this application would undermine this.'

The 15-metre mast would have been located on top of the St John Ambulance station in Grovelands Road.

Local councillor Ian Haffenden said he had received more letters and phone calls on this application than any other. And he attacked both St John Ambulance and Vodafone. He said, 'I think Vodafone should be ashamed and I think St John Ambulance should be ashamed of their greed. 'I think it's shocking that it should give a mast to a mobile phone company. 'Shame and disgrace on them. 'A lot of parents did not realise the existing use of the mast on top of the building. 'A lot of people thought it was being used by the St John Ambulance. 'The mast is not being extended or replaced — it's being moved.'

Government rules say health considerations are not allowed to be taken into account when dealing with mast applications. This is because the health risk is not yet known. But Cllr Haffenden said, 'Children will be walking directly under this in order to get to and from school. 'You used to be able to buy cigarettes with no health warning on them. 'And how many people lived with asbestos in their houses? 'Now if you get a tiny bit of asbestos, people go up the wall. 'People now know the health risks of these things and risks are a concern in this location because of the children.'

The planning committee rejected the application on the basis of its siting and recommended Vodafone share O2's mast in Gleneagles Drive.


05 May 2005


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