Activists urged to unite in fight against Orange masts plan

Farnham Today 24.06.05

SURREY county councillor Pat Frost has pledged her support for local residents’ groups fighting to stop mobile telephone operator Orange erecting masts in Farnham. Ms Frost is following the example of fellow county councillor David Munro and South West Surrey MP Jeremy Hunt in criticising Orange for its proposals to site masts at a number of locations in south Farnham. “I am very concerned about masts generally and I think Orange need to rethinks its whole strategy,” said Ms Frost. “I don’t want to see lots of masts in Farnham and I would welcome the opportunity to talk with Orange and to ask them if they have got this right.” Ms Frost is concerned that Orange is not liaising with local residents over its proposals for the masts. “We don’t want to see masts all over the Bourne or Abbots Ride but it’s not just these places, it’s all over south Farnham which concerns me. I think that it is better for the people who live there if it is resolved sooner rather than later,” she said. Zofia Lovell, secretary of the Abbots Ride Residents’ Association, is grateful for the support of Ms Frost. “We agree with Pat Frost. We represent more than 60 households and adjacent roads who have been left in a state of ‘limbo’ by Orange who constantly avoid communicating their precise intentions to the people it most affects, causing stress and anguish,” she said. “The proposal by Orange to erect a 15-metre high mast at Waverley Lane and Tilford Road will adversely blight the approach to Farnham from Godalming and Tilford. Mobile phone masts will intrude on an area of great landscape value, as officially recognised by Waverley Borough Council. It is the intention of the Abbots Ride Residents’ Association to ensure that Orange is not allowed to ruin Farnham,” she added. Ms Lovell believes that all the anti-mast action groups in Farnham must work together if Orange ’s proposals are to be defeated. “We have been liaising with Ray Cuckow ( Manor Gardens ’ Mast Action Group) and Niki Hearnshaw (Bourne School Mast Action Group) and they have been supportive. The problem is everybody is fighting on their own and everyone is hoping that these issues will go somewhere else,” she explained. “What we need to do is to get Orange to come up with a proposal that is realistic. A realistic proposal is one that is as far way from homes and schools as possible.” This is a sentiment expressed by residents surveyed by the Manor Gardens ’ Mast Action Campaign Group. A key finding shows 97 per cent of residents preferring a single taller mast on high ground rather than the current proposal for 14 masts sited among homes and schools in Farnham. Ray Cuckow, joint campaign co-ordinator, said: “It is clear that the overwhelming majority prefer a single mast in the Bourne Woods. This is a sensible choice environmentally and minimises the very real safety fears. Orange should now withdraw their Manor Gardens and Bourne School proposals immediately.”


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