17
Jun
2005

Mobile phone mast row

by James Varley

Pontefract and Castleford Today

FURIOUS Kippax residents are dismayed by a mobile phone company's refusal to take down a video phone mast built in the middle of their busy shopping street.

Protesters – including Leeds City councillor Keith Wakefield – who claim the mast is unsightly and a potential health hazard, met with Hutchinson 3G on May 13 in a last ditch attempt to have the four-metre base station hauled down.

But H3G decided to leave the mast on top of the Craftsman Cues building on High Street and not move it to an alternative site away from residents – as suggested by Coun Wakefield and protesters.
Coun Wakefield said: "I am extremely disappointed H3G have not decided to move the mast to one of the alternative sites suggested by myself and my constituents.

"The whole process has been conducted in a lacklustre manner that has seen minimal consultation take place between H3G and concerned residents."

Protester Richard Sheppard, 57, said: "This is not the end of our fight – we will continue with our attempts to have this unsightly mast hauled down.

"Unfortunately, the meeting between ourselves and H3G was a token gesture because the mast was already built."

The mast, which did not require planning permission as it is under 25m, went up in the High Street in April despite objections from residents, including a 300-signature petition.

An H3G spokesman said: "We took on board the residents' comments regarding an alternative site following our meeting with them.

"A radio engineer looked at the alternative sites suggested by residents even though the base station is operating.

"They offered insufficient coverage for Kippax proving our original decision was correct. The residents' insistence that we move the base station would be detrimental to coverage and we do not intend to pursue that route."

16 June 2005
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