23
Jul
2005

Uproar at new phone mast plan

By Stuart Pollitt Litchfield and Burntwood Chronicle

Jul 22, 2005, 11:53

A new phone mast has been proposed in south Lichfield, The Chronicle can reveal.

T-Mobile wants to put a 12 metre mast on the corner of Shortbutts Lane and Birmingham Road to serve the south west of the city.

The mobile phone giant has investigated eight sites in south Lichfield where it considered putting masts to improve its 3G service.

The Shortbutts Lane proposal comes months after a similar plan for a mast in Sainte Foy Avenue was abandoned following criticism from residents, councillors and developers. But Staffordshire County Councillor for Lichfield South, Terry Finn, said this proposal was not better.

"What a place to try and put it," he said. "I don't know where they are coming from."

T-Mobile said the proposed mast, on a wide grass verge adjacent to a busy road and trees, was the best of the eight options they considered in the area.

But the company revealed the site was only given an amber suitability rating under national guidelines because it was within 50 metres of people's houses.

Councillor Finn said that was too close, especially with the new 175 new home development on the former Bison Concrete site off Shortbutts Lane now under way.

"It's extremely close to people's houses. There would be quite a few houses within 50 metres," said the county councillor.

"I think it's awful. It's the gateway to the city - it's welcome to Lichfield with a telephone mast."

"I can't understand why they have to have them so near to the houses."

Councillor Finn added that any new masts for 3G coverage should be mounted on existing poles.

Alan Begley, who formed the Boley Park Action Group to stop a planned mast in Darnford Lane, said the Shortbutts Lane proposal was "totally unacceptable" because it was near houses and King Edward VI School.

He said: "Yet again we have an example of a mobile phone company riding roughshod over the community to be honest and not putting the health of residents and school children first."

Mr Begley added that 12 metre masts were worse than taller poles because the radiation had less chance to diffuse before it hit the ground.

T-Mobile's Sophie Parviez said: "It is just to further improve the network.

"A lot of the masts are for the 3G service, which is part of T-Mobile's ongoing commitment to provide customers with an unrivalled service."
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