Mast opposition: Angry residents unite to take on mobile phone giant


Today 04 08.05 Angry residents unite to take on mobile phone giant

UNHAPPY residents want to block a proposed mobile phone mast on their doorstep. People living in Lithgow Place, Denny, were horrified to receive a letter from Vodaphone's agents at the weekend alerting them to the plans. Now they have launched a petition telling the mobile phone company they don't want it erected near their homes – or next to Nethermains Primary School.

Jane McGuigan, of 8 Lithgow Place, said she was concerned the consultation was taking place during the school holidays. She said: "I'm sure if they were aware of the proposal, lots of parents with children at the primary school would want to object. ''I've two children of my own and don't want them living next to a phone mast."

Electrician John Connolly (38), whose home at 19 Lithgow Place is right next to the land earmarked for the mast, is concerned over the safety risks, particularly for his seven-year-old son. He said: "The advice from the Government is there are no health concerns from masts, but then you read other reports which conflict with their advice. Vodaphone should not be planning this in a residential area or close to a school. "We've also got to consider this as likely to devalue our homes if allowed to go ahead. In fact, it could make them almost impossible to sell."

Marion Welsh at No.15 said neighbours were agreed they wouldn't have bought their homes if the mast had already been built. She said: "Everyone is really worried, particularly from the safety aspect. ''When the houses were built three and four years ago, they were bought as family homes. ''There are a lot of children living here and although some could claim it has never been proven that masts are a risk, it's not been proven otherwise."

In the letter to residents, Vodaphone gave details of five other nearby sites which had been considered then discounted. They were two on land at East Banknock Farm, Myothill Road, land off Myothill Road, and locations along Nethermains Road. Vodaphone has yet to submit a planning application to Falkirk Council to build the mast and is currently carrying out pre-application consult-ations with neighbouring properties. This is standard procedure and part of a 10-point best practice policy adopted by mobile phone operators. Falkirk Council follows Scottish Executive guidelines when determining any telecom mast application.

A spokeswoman for Vodaphone confirmed all comments would be reviewed before a final decision was taken. She said: "One of our difficulties is finding sites in the first place. ''We are working in very, very small geographic areas because of the low power involved. "We have to find a balance between taking on board everyone's views but, at the same time, responding to customers' demands for service. ''We will look very carefully at what is being said."


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August 2005

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