Church phone mast plans

Sunderland Today

PLANS to put a 50ft-high mast next to one of Sunderland's most stunning landmarks have been unveiled by mobile phone bosses.

T-Mobile claim there are telephone reception problems in Sunderland city centre, so wants to build a 15-metre high communications mast next to Sunderland Minster.

And it seems church leaders are happy with the plan, which will improve services for phone users with 3G technology – mobiles that allow video conferencing between callers.

Canon Stephen Taylor today calmed fears about the mast plans.
He said: "The mast is not something that is going to block anybody's view of the minster. As I understand, it will look like and function as a flagpole."

If planning permission is approved, the mast would stand next to other flagpoles close to the steps into the minster's grounds and have three antennas inside it.

Mr Taylor said: "I, personally, don't have any problem about the mast and if we all want to use mobile telephone technology then there has to be masts."

T-Mobile was offering the diocese rent for siting the mast, but no sum had been agreed and the money will be ploughed back into church work, said Mr Taylor.

He added he was aware of health issues surrounding masts but said these were still to be proven beyond any doubt.

The minster had followed Church of England guidelines on the application and the Sunderland diocese's advisory committee is still considering T-mobile's bid.

Church neighbour and minster worker Robert Jones, of the Mowbray Alms Houses, said: "I am objecting because it is too close to my front door. I know people say there's no health risks but nobody really knows for sure."

The minster is in councillor Jim Hollern's ward, who said: "I am okay with the plan, it will be partly hidden by trees, health fears are not proven and it is providing a service by giving better receptions."

Omega health fears are proven. See further under: http://www.buergerwelle.de/body_science.html

T-Mobile has two other city centre masts in Sunderland with one in Hendon and one next to the Queen Alexandra Bridge.

29 June 2005


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