Victory in mast battle

Jul 27 2005

By Neil Elkes, Birmingham Evening Mail

VILLAGE campaigners were celebrating today after winning a two-year battle to see off a controversial mobile phone mast on their doorstep.

Telecom giant T-mobile has walked away from a site at Wishaw, near Sutton Coldfield, ending the lengthy stand-off with campaigners.

Villagers, who blame the mast for a cluster of cancer cases and illnesses, today hailed the climbdown as a victory for the man in the street.

Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell has been told the company has no intention of re-siting the mast in Bulls Lane.

Villagers who founded SCRAM (Seriously Concerned Residents About Masts), blockaded the site after the 22m mast was pulled down by vandals on Bonfire Night in 2003.

The blockade became a symbol and rallying point for anti-mast campaigners all over the UK and Europe.

Construction lorries were unable to get to the site after the company was denied access by neighbouring landowners.

SCRAM founder Eileen O'Connor, aged 41, who blames her breast cancer on the mast, said they are now looking to buy the tiny site in Bulls Lane to ensure the company can never return.

She said: "We were devastated by the thought of a new mast in Bulls Lane. This lifts a real weight off our minds.

"We do feel that the threat of a new mobile phone mast in our community will always exist until we own the land."

T-Mobile's community affairs manager John Shaughnessy told Mr Mitchell the company has no intention of developing the site at Bulls Lane and no interest in the location.


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