Anger at bid to put more dishes on mast

Sunderland Echo

FURIOUS residents are up in arms over plans to increase the use of a mobile phone mast on their doorsteps.

The imposing phone mast behind Beckenham Avenue, in East Boldon, has been the source of much controversy ever since the plans to build it were first mooted more than five years ago.
After much local opposition and a petition signed by nearly 100 people, South Tyneside Council refused planning permission to build the mast.

But a Government inspector overturned the decision, although several conditions were imposed, including the limitation of the amount of use of the mast.

However, in 2003, more dishes were added to the mast, indicating increased usage, and, to rub further salt in their wounds, residents received a letter last month saying yet more dishes are to be added to the mast.

Pensioner Gerry Ash, of Beckenham Avenue , said: "We have a lot of children living in our street and that is one of our main concerns. "Last year the Government released a report discouraging children under 10 from using mobile phones for health reasons. "So what about the children in our street living near a mast where mobile phone signals actually come from? "We will protest against these latest plans, but, to be honest, I think the local government have their hands tied by central government policy. "Well, enough is enough and we want them to stand up to the Government."

The villagers have the support of Couns David Potts and Donald Wood from the Cleadon and East Boldon ward. Coun Potts said: "We all want to use mobile telephones, but these masts do not belong in residential areas like East Boldon. "Local residents have suffered enough with the Metro line running right outside of their back gardens. "The council and the companies who erect these masts should be consulting further with local residents before going ahead and putting these things up." Coun Wood added: "Even now, no one really knows of the potential health risks posed by these masts. "Until further research has been conducted and a definitive answer known one way or another, these masts should be erected as far away from residential areas as possible."

The plans are at a consultation stage and residents have been given 21 days to voice their objections.

18 May 2005


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