Battle to stop phone mast


Farnborough News and Mail

CAMPAIGNERS are battling yet again to stop another mobile phone mast being built just ten metres from their back gardens.

Plans have been submitted by the mobile phone company Vodafone to build a ten foot-high mast at the junction of Farnborough Road and Ship Alley, but residents are picking up their pens in protest against the proposals.

They plan to bombard Rushmoor Borough Council with letters objecting to the mast.

Last May the Mail reported Farnborough residents’ fight to stop a T-Mobile mast being built outside the Ship Inn, in Ship Lane, Farnborough, 20 metres away from the latest proposed site.

But despite the 200-strong petition from angry residents the mobile phone giant was given permission to build the 32 foot-high mast.

Now people are even more determined that they do not want two mobile phone masts so close together.

Donovan Baines, who lives just ten metres away from the proposed site, said that another mast would be a case of “overkill” and is rallying neighbours into a protest group.

He said: “I just want to stir it up and make a little bit of a scene to make everybody else aware.

“It’s far too close to the houses.”

Mr Baines wants as many people as possible to write to the council objecting to the plans.

He said: “In the next few years companies are going to put these masts everywhere.

“It’s not just happening on my doorstep, it will happen everywhere.”

And Mr Baines has the full backing of ward councillor Steve Masterson.

Cllr Masterson has already registered his objections to the council and said that he will support anyone else who wants to make their views known about the unwanted plans.

He said: “I’m totally opposed to the mast being situated in residential areas.

“They should keep them away from residential areas until the health risk is proven to be negative and the debate is no longer open.

“It’s in reasonably close proximity to schools and I’m not happy with that.

“There’s also the risk of the devaluation of people’s properties.”

But a Vodafone spokeswoman hit back at the claims and said that a report released by the Health Protection Agency in January claimed there was no scientific basis for citing minimal distances between masts and areas of public occupancy.

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She added: “There are no guidelines to where masts are located as they are very low powered and in order for the hand sets to work the masts must be located locally.

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“Therefore, it’s essential that they are located in residential areas for the handsets to work.”

The spokeswoman said that the mast is designed to look like a telegraph pole so that it does not look out of place.

But she added: “They’re very much accepted parts of our urban environment.”

Residents have until the middle of September to register their objections with Rushmoor Borough Council.

Keith Holland, head of the council’s planning department, said that public objections will be taken into account.

He said: “The issue of phone masts is very emotive and as a result if we were going to approve any phone mast it’s likely it would go to committee first.

“It’s in the council hands to make decisions at this stage but we have to take into account the issues that the inspector looked at with the other one.”

The council refused permission for the T-Mobile mast in Ship Lane, but a planning inspector overturned the decision.


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September 2005

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