8
Jun
2005

Anger over fake tree mobile phone masts

by Chris Pragnell, South London Press

Jun 7 2005

MOBILE phone firms hope to stick two telecom masts in leafy Dulwich - disguised as Cypress trees.

Only a handful of "tree masts" exist in Britain and these would be South London 's first.

Residents have scoffed at the idea, saying the plastic foliage would look ridiculous - especially in winter.

Yesterday, protesters voiced their concerns at the proposed site for the trees.

It is the Dulwich Estatesowned Pelo playing field off Gallery Road .

Adrian Hill, chairman of the Dulwich Society, said: "The existing trees are deciduous. They'll lose their leaves.

"It will look ridiculous and the plastic foliage will not blend in.

"We think they're in the wrong place.

"They'll be very prominent."

The masts, from telecom companies Orange and Vodafone, could be up to 60ft tall.

As yet, no formal application has been lodged with Southwark council to install them.

Ideal

John Major, chief executive of the Dulwich Estates, defended the proposal, saying the site was ideal.

"The trustees have formulated a policy over the years to work proactively with communications companies," he said.

"That way we have some say about where the masts go.

"The alternative is that they [telecoms companies] could put masts on pavements or public highways - areas outside our control in Dulwich - close to homes, the school, or the library for example.

"This way we can identify sites that are away from homes and away from the school.

"The Pelo site is one of these."

Orange was the first telecom company in the country to introduce masts disguised as trees.

Currently, manufacturers offer two evergreen models - Scots pines and Cypress.

A company spokeswoman said: "If we were to use an English tree such as an oak, the development would look very out of place during the autumn and winter when the real trees shed their leaves."


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