Phone mast protest is up, up and away!

Jul 25 2005

Evening Telegraph Coventry 25.07.05

By Duncan Gibbons

Campaigners fighting plans to put a mobile phone mast near a school released 500 balloons during a mass demonstration.

The balloons were meant to represent the number of children that, protesters claim, could suffer damage to their health.

Residents are angry after the Coventry Howitzer Club, in Albert Street, Hillfields, agreed to let Hutchison 3G put a mast on the roof of the building in exchange for rent of about £10,000 a year.

It has yet to be put up but will not need planning permission as it is below a specific height.

Pupils from nearby schools joined staff - and animals from Coventry City Farm - and local people, to release the balloons before handing a 1,000-name petition to club bosses.

The club is 500 yards from St Mary's and St Benedict's Primary School, in Leigh Street, and 100 yards from Hillfields Early Years Centre.

Joseph Parrott, aged 11, of St Mary's, said: "I think masts are bad for health because of radiowaves - we might get cancer."

Campaign coordinator Jenny Gregory, aged 34, of Charles Street, Hillfields, denied she was being hypocritical despite owning a mobile phone herself.

"We have all got mobile phones and we already get good coverage here without another mast," she said.

"Nobody is against mobile phone masts but they should not be put up near schools and nurseries, and residential areas."

She claimed the only scientific research that had been done was into the thermal effects of masts on the human body, and not the biological effects.

Later there was a confrontation at the front door as a Hutchison representative claimed committee members were too busy to come down and accept the petition in person. Instead a club member entering the venue agreed to take the paperwork inside.

Former ward councillor Rob Windsor, one of the protesters, said: "Somebody should have had the decency to come down for 30 seconds and accept it. It's an utter disgrace."

Campaigners claim the club allowed the mast without consulting its membership.

No-one from the club was available for comment.


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Juli 2005

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