12:00 - 23 July 2005

Many people aspire to living in a picturesque cottage in a close-knit community. But for some residents in Keele that dream is beginning to turn into a nightmare.

Instead of whiling away the hours enjoying the pleasant vistas of the nearby golf course, they have been gazing at two telephone masts.

And they fear that their view is once again about to be spoilt by another modern-day visual menace.

In the past two years, the two telephone masts have been erected near Boggs Cottages, in Keele Road, by telecommunications company O2.

Now residents of the five cottages fear their rural idyll will be further spoiled, after phone company Vodafone applied to put its own mast on land just metres away.

Vodafone has submitted an application to Newcastle Borough Council to put a 12-metre mast at the course.

The mast would have three antennae and equipment cabinet on the ground and would be situated on the driving range - near the O2 mast.

The residents living in the five cottages also have health concerns about the masts and have signed a petition which has now been sent to the borough council.

Cheryl Wilton has lived in her cottage for more than four years. The 58-year-old said: "I was born in the village - I would like to die here. I can see the masts when I look out of the window. This is a lovely place to live. Why have we got to have them by us?"

Neighbour Jane Barlow said: "This is quite a rural area and they are historic cottages and have probably been here for around 155 years.

"Where we live is a lovely area. I just think it's ridiculous and I can't understand why out of all the places they want to put them right next to where we live.

"It's a nice area and we keep getting all these applications for masts, we don't want any more."

Ed Broughton, who campaigned against previous masts being erected, echoed the calls. He said: "Apart from anything else, there's the health risk. It's not been proved they cause serious health problems but it's not been disproved either."

Omega it has been proved they cause serious health. See under:

And Eileen Amphlett, aged 51, said: "At the end of the day they're that close to us we could have one in our back garden. We're not getting any benefit from it. At the moment we have two - one right opposite and one by the side of us.

"Why not put them a couple of miles down the road where there are no houses or cottages?"

Other residents, Leonard and Brenda Edwards, also strongly oppose the installation of the phone masts.

Keele Golf Course declined to make any comment about the masts. The golf course is owned by the borough council but run by a private company.

Jane Frapwell, spokesman for Vodafone, said: "We do appreciate that we've an over-riding obligation to minimise visual impact but of course at the same time we've got an obligation to provide a service for local people."

A spokesman for the borough council said the application will go before the planning committee next month.

She said: "Rent for the masts is paid to the borough council which owns the driving range. However we can't disclose details of the rents as these are private financial arrangements."



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Juli 2005

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