Mast plans defeated after parents voice safety fears

Waltham Forest Guardian

PLANS for a phone mast were rejected by councillors after long discussions of the potential health risks.

The mast would have stood 50ft above the ground on Sutherland House, Sutherland Road, Walthamstow, a 1950s commercial building bordering on an industrial area.

However the site is surrounded by residential properties and towers above both Willowfield School and Hillyfield Primary School.

When residents heard of Vodafone's plans during the Easter holidays, they mounted a campaign to fight it, fearing the possible health impact on schoolchildren and women attending a nearby antenatal clinic.

Residents Against the Mast (RAM) collected signatures on a petition and several residents sent individual letters of objection.

Helen Schafer, of Sutherland Road, spoke at the planning committee meeting and said: "I realise I am by no means alone in feeling sceptical about probable health risks.

"Two schools were not informed by the council and one made its objection to Vodafone clear.

"Many parents of both schools have not been informed and have no clue their children's health is in danger."

Higham Hill councillors Peter Woollcott and Sean Meiszner spoke out against the mast, highlighting the 200 homes planned for the site of the old mill, only yards away from the proposed mast.

A spokesman for Vodafone claimed the radiation towards nearby schools and homes would be only "a small amount" and complied with Government guidelines, so the planning committee could not reject the mast on health grounds and rejected it on the basis of adverse visual impact on the area.

Seven councillors rejected the plans and only two voted in favour of the mast.

10:19am Thursday 23rd June 2005


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