21
Sep
2005

Vicar wants to put phone mast on top of tower - QS4 hits another listed church

Sep 20 2005

icSurrey online Epsom and Banstead

By Joan Mulcaster

WORSHIPPERS are praying for neighbours' approval of their bid to put a mobile phone mast on the roof of their church.

The proposal, by historic Grade ll listed St Martin of Tours, Epsom's Parish Church, is because cash is badly needed for £350,000 worth of work on the building and adjoining hall in Church Road.

But vicar, the Rev Simon Talbot, is aware that agreeing to the financial offer from QS4 could not have come at a worse time - just after the outcry which stopped council bosses agreeing to a mobile phone mast in Court Road recreation ground.

He said: "I am aware of this and I am sending out letters to all addresses within a 250 metre radius of the church and we are having a consultation session on Wednesday October 5 from 4pm to 8 pm to answer questions.

"The annual rental income cannot be disclosed at the company's request but it will be very useful for the work we need to do on our old church centre and work in the church itself - including providing a toilet for the disabled.

"We live in the age of mobile phones which have invaluable uses not just for young people but the elderly. Yes, I have one - and phone companies have an obligation to provide good reception.

"The church roof tower at the rear of the building where it will go is about 70ft high so the mast, designed to look like a flagpole, will only be two to three metres high.

"QS4 even has a special department to make sure designs fit in with the churches and we will be able to fly a flag on it if we want to.

"I know of at least one other church in the area which, if this goes ahead, might also consider it.

"The tower is not one of our main ones at the front but the back where it will overlook the churchyard.

"A data base was set up after the Archbishop's Council established a national system. Every parish was written to and we were approached 18 months ago.

"The vote by the Parochial Church Council was made after a very positive discussion and the vote was clearly in favour.

"There will be no final decision whether the project will go ahead for at least three months."

Mr Talbot said before agreeing the Parochial Church Council sought advice from the radiological protection divison of the Health Protection Agency, which assured them risks from masts were far less than those from the phones themselves.

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QS4 has a special deal with the C of E, using technology from Qinetiq (The private arm of the Ministry of Defence) to install masts. Loads of money to the church of course.

The Qinetiq technology allows all 5 operators to share the same antennae (antenna sharing rather than mast sharing), into which they all feed their separate signals.

Good military technology purporting to save the day:

1) save on numbers of planning applications

2) save on refusals and appeals (the church is not subject to the same planning regulations)

3) get your masts into residential areas (that's where churches tend to be)

4) find convenient tall structures

5) find someone who desperately needs the money

6) sell it as beneficial to the community (who better to want to be seen to do this?)

7) surveillance? Where better to hide it.

Got it in one.

Andy

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QS4 has a special deal with the C of E, using technology from Qinetiq (The private arm of the Ministry of Defence) to install masts. Loads of money to the church of course. The devil must be laughing his head off on the irony of this one! With the additional profit from mobile phone porn and gambling, all angles must be covered.

I find it hard to believe that people who follow the Christian faith can be so focused on material profit and so unconcerned about those with health problems because they live near masts. Maybe they genuinely haven't heard about all the mounting evidence linking mobile phone technology to cancer and other serious illness.

There is only one reason I can think of why churches would agree to housing antennae in their buildings and that would be for money.

There are plenty of examples in the Bible of how Jesus hated profiteering in the church.

I believe this episode in the Bible (see examples below) is the only one where we actually hear that Jesus was angry with what he saw.

He was usually filled with pity for those who did wrong, but not in this case.

My local United Reformed Church has supported my fight against our local mast and have written to the planning dept. expressing their concern.

Our church is directly next door to the mast and due to the increasing evidence of cancer clusters around them, we are concerned about the well being of the children who attend the daily playgroup.

Our church is really poor and we have serious worries about the upkeep of the building but as a community I am sure we would never stoop to this way of raising money.

Can you imagine Jesus taking money from the Romans or the Jewish authorities to keep his ministry together?

Didn't Judas get his 30 coins of silver and what good did that do him?

Mark 8:36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

Anyone out there fighting a mast on a local church...I would be happy for you to pass this message on to your local minister.

He can challenge me if he wants to !

If these men have a conscience these words will reach them.

Best wishes,

angieb
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