26
Aug
2005

Massed protest at Cullen mast bid

The Northern Scot

MOBILE phone giant Vodafone has been accused of riding roughshod over local democracy by residents in Cullen.

They are angry that Vodafone has appealed against refusal by Moray Council to site a 14.7 metre mast in a residential area.

Councillors rejected the planning application earlier this year, voting 17-7 against the proposal, in support of residents who had submitted a 265 signature petition and dozens of letters of objection.

The appeal will now be heard by a Scottish Executive Reporter and local residents will only be able to make their feelings known through written submissions.

They are concerned that the Reporter will overturn the decision of the council and they will be left with a mast they don't want.

Eight-month pregnant Vivienne Addison is concerned at the possible health risks associated with mobile phone masts. She said:

"This is very stressful. I should be enjoying myself and looking forward to the baby but I am waking up at all hours worrying about this."

Vo dafone want to erect the mast on the site of the telephone exchange in Blantyre Street.

The mast would overlook a family home on one side and be adjacent to an old folks home on the other.

Mrs Addison, whose home in Reidhaven Street is just round the corner from the mast site, added:

"Everyone is up in arms and there is a lot of concern about this.

"It will be really ugly and an eyesore. The appeal has come as quite a shock."

Mrs Addison said Orange already has a mobile phone mast at Crannoch Woods and questioned why Vodafone could not use that site.

Another resident, Bernard Watts, of Seafield Place, has written to the Reporter urging he/she rejects the appeal.

"There are a lot of families with children and babies living within a stone's throw of the appeal site, " he said.

"They have expressed great concern about their children's health and wellbeing."

Communities across the UK have expressed fears over possible ill-health risks associated to mobile phone masts.

Mr Watts claimed instances of dizziness, fatigue, chronic headaches, irregular heart beats, nausea and more serious diseases had been reported in communities with masts.

In its appeal to the Scottish Executive, Crown Castle UK, which is looking to develop the site for Vodafone, said: "In so far as some limited harm may be perceived, this is outweighed by the specific encouragement given to modern communications at national and local level."

Mr Watts described the Vodafone's decision to appeal as "absolutely disgraceful" and represented the "erosion of local democracy."

"Cullen is a very pretty conservation seaside village and a mast sited in the grounds of the appeal site will not help. The people of Cullen definitely do not want this unconscionable, execrable edifice in their midst."

Mr Watts said the mast should be sited in a more sensible location away from the residential area of the village.

Local councillor Ron Shepherd said: "I am very disappointed that Vodafone have decided to appeal the council's decision.

"We have put a lot of work into stopping this being erected in a residential area in Cullen where there is a nursing home and doctors' surgery.

"I feel for the people living in that area. I would hope the Reporter backs local opinion and we are depending on him to take heed of the people of Cullen."

A Vodafone spokeswoman said: "We never take the decision to appeal lightly and we always look very carefully at what has been said to us in the original refusal.

"We try to weigh up everybody's views but at the end of the day we have an obligation to provide a service and if we feel we have done our absolute best in determining the site and there is a clear need for the services locally, we would reserve our right to appeal against the decision."

26/08/2005
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