Exeter Express and Echo

12:00 - 20 July 2005

Residents on a city estate have reacted angrily to the news that plans for a mobile phone mast just metres away from their homes are set for approval. Hutchison 3G wants to build a 12-metre high mobile phone mast in Whipton - near hundreds of houses, a hospital, children's centre and three schools.

Planning officers from the city council have now recommended the go-ahead for the mast.

A report on the development, which is produced to help guide the decision of councillors on the development control committee, says: "We are pleased that we have been able to identify a site that will minimise the environmental impact of the proposal."

It goes on to say the site "represents the best available option in the area".

But campaigners who set up Whipton Against Masts are furious at the recommendation. They are also angry because there is no mention in the report of their petition or 300 letters of opposition to the mast.

Campaign founder Laurence Davey said: "I am trying to get the report declared invalid because it does not contain the correct information. We have now collected nearly 700 signatures from residents complaining about the mast being built."

Jon Sprague of Hill Barton Lane, where the mast would be built, said: "We feel like nobody is listening to us and I don't understand why they are recommending approval when so many residents are against it."

A spokesman for Exeter City Council said: "We changed the date when objection letters had to be handed in because we only have 56 days to consider the proposal and we needed to write the report before the development control committee meeting on July 25.

"The reason we didn't include the number of objection letters is because there were an unusually high number and it would have taken too long to process them. But this means the amount will be stated at the committee, which probably means they will carry more weight."

The Echo's Shock Waves campaign has been calling for more research into the health effects of masts.


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