13
Jul
2005

TOWN MAST PLANS ON HOLD SAY PHONE FIRM

Gloucester Citizen

10:30 - 13 July 2005

Controversial plans to build a mobile phone mast in Stroud town centre have been withdrawn.

But anti-mast campaigners cannot break out the champagne just yet as phone company Vodafone could still propose a new site in the area. The application for the 12m high mast in Merrywalks, had caused controversy as the proposed site was close to two schools and bus stops in the town.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: "We are trying to agree an alternative location which will be nearer to the (old police station) roundabout.

"The reason we withdrew was because there were plans, of which we were unaware, for additional bus stops at that point."

Anti-antennae campaigner Lynne Edmunds is spokeswoman for the pressure group Mast Sanity.

She has been one of the main objectors to the proposal and warned the campaign against the phone companies was by no means over.

"This is just the beginning of what communities are facing with five separate companies all trying to roll out new networks of 3G," she said.

She said each fresh proposal needed to be looked at.

"People see each application as a new separate situation," she said. "This is all part of this 3G blast."

Miss Edmunds recently objected to the mast over concerns the radiation given off by the mast might harm the health of pupils at the nearby St Rose's Special School and Rosary Primary School as well as bus passengers.

Shortly afterwards head teacher of The Rosary, Maria Lockey said she would also be against the siting of a mast so near to her classrooms.

She said she had intended to send a written protest to the Stroud District Council local planning authority.

"Any potential health hazards could be a risk to schoolchildren," she said.

"I am also concerned about the siting of the mast near bus stops where hundreds of children wait each day for buses."

Businesswoman Nicky Baldwin runs a spinal rehabilitation centre at the Old Convent, which overlooks Merrywalks.

She said she had been concerned about the mast near her work.

"I am not too enthralled about having it (the mast) really. I am concerned about my health," she said.

A spokeswoman for the council confirmed Vodafone had withdrawn their Merrywalks application.

They were still looking to lodge a proposal in the immediate area, she said.
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