27
Mai
2005

SETBACK IN MAST FIGHT

CLIFF MOGG

Surrey Star

TWO Cove schools, which have a special unit for pupils with hearing problems, have suffered a setback in their battle against a proposed mobile phone mast.

Staff at Manor infant and junior schools have protested to Rushmoor Council planners that the Vodafone mast signals could interfere with hearing aids used by nine pupils.

Marilyn Penman, head of the 220-pupil infant school, said on Tuesday: “I’ve recently discovered that this problem arose at another school with hearing impaired children. “The pupils were having trouble with their hearing equipment and it was tracked down to a mast which had been put up nearby.” She hopes to unearth more detailed information before the deadline for objections tomorrow (Friday).

But Chris Jones, Rushmoor Council planning officer, said: “We are powerless to act over signal interference. “Under the terms of the licence, the operator is responsible for ensuring that his equipment does interfere with other systems.” Mr Jones also had bad news for more than 300 residents who have signed a petition objecting to the 10-metre high mast, earmarked for the Fernhill Road-Northcote Road junction, on health grounds. He said that, because it is less than 15 metres high, the council was limited to discussing the siting and design of the mast, and whether the company had looked at the possibility of sharing a mast with other operators.

The only ray of hope for the objectors appears to be the sharing option.

Mr Jones revealed that the council recently turned down an application by T-Mobile in the same area because it had not looked at the possibility of sharing a mast with another operator. “In that case the planning inspectorate upheld the planning committee’s decision,” he said.

The council has until June 28 to decide on the Vodafone application.
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