MP to meet Orange over mast proposals

JEREMY Hunt has criticised Tony Blair and is calling on the Prime Minister to stop ignoring the concerns of local communities about the siting of mobile phone masts. The newly elected MP for South West Surrey is meeting representatives from mobile operator Orange to discuss 13 new mast planning applications around the south Bourne area. “We all want to be able to use a mobile phone, but this doesn’t mean masts should be constructed without any regard for the well- being of local people in south-west Surrey,” he said. “It is time for Mr Blair to start listening and stop ignoring the views of local communities. As your member of parliament I will be calling on Mr Blair’s government to address the feelings of powerlessness and frustration experienced by those living under the threat of badly sited masts,” he added. One of the sites Mr Hunt will be discussing at the meeting concerns the proposed site on Waverley Lane, opposite Bourne Infant School. Niki Hearnshaw, campaign co-ordinator for the Bourne School Masts Action Group, said: “It is great news that this meeting is taking place and that Mr Hunt is helping us with our campaign against the siting of this mast.” Ms Hearnshaw has been invited to attend the meeting to discuss her concerns about the mast. “I am delighted to get the opportunity speak with Orange face to face. I want them to know that there is no way we will give up our fight no matter how long it takes,” she said. “The fundamental problem is that Orange has failed to fulfil their promise to consult with the school and the local community about the siting of the mast.” All Ms Hearnshaw’s children have attended the school and she is worried out the health effects of the mast on the children. “The mast will be about 50 metres from the school and because the school is on a hill the mast’s beam will be in line with the playground. We have had this independently verified by local radiologists,” she said. And in a further boost for protesters, BBC television cameras visited Bourne Infant School on Wednesday to publicise its fight against the possible siting of a mast nearby the school. A statement from Orange said: “We are currently reconsidering a number of proposals as a direct result of the consultation undertaken at The Bush Hotel back in April. “We understand the strength of feeling among the local community and although we have a few options left available to us, we have agreed to revisit some of the previously discounted alternative sites. We hope to have made some final decisions about which sites we will be progressing within the next two months. The footage taken at Bourne Infant School will be broadcast on BBC’s South Today during the news coverage of the meeting between Jeremy Hunt, Niki Hearnshaw and representatives from Orange at the House of Commons on Tuesday, May 31.


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