Community fears over phone masts

TWO Ipswich communities have aired fears today over the possibility of mobile phone masts being sited near two schools.Mobile phone giant O2 plans to install two mobile phone masts in the south west of Ipswich – one close to Gusford Primary School and one near Halifax.

TWO Ipswich communities have aired fears today over the possibility of mobile phone masts being sited near two schools.

Mobile phone giant O2 plans to install two mobile phone masts in the south west of Ipswich - one close to Gusford Primary School and one near Halifax.

The first mast in Ellenbrook Road would back onto Gusford's school field while the second, on Stoke Park Drive, is less than 500m from Halifax Primary School.

The Stoke Park mast is planned for the grass verge close to the junction with Prince of Wales Drive and opposite Sawston Close.

Guy Halden, a resident in Sawston Close, said: "If that was there I never would have bought the place. Who wants a monstrosity like that there?

"My biggest concern is what will be found in years to come with the radiation."

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His wife Tracey agreed: "We've got three children and I don't want anything to happen to them."

"We have got a school down there and it really is quite scary.

"They don't have to put these things where people live - we've been here for 15 years and it is a really nice area."

Peter Dyer, a resident in Prince of Wales Drive, is sending a letter of objection to the council against the proposed mast.

He said: "There are at least three houses in the next road with young children.

"There is still no unequivocal evidence that these things don't cause trouble and they should be kept clear of residential areas.

"Until the jury comes back with a firm yes they are safe I won't believe the government."

Because there is no evidence to prove any health impacts caused by mobile phone masts, objections on these grounds are often rejected because they lead to appeal.

Last month another O2 mast outside the Belstead Arms pub was rejected by councillors because of its visual intrusion and not on health grounds.

O2's latest application in Sprites has moved away from the main residential area onto the end of the borough boundary on Ellenbrook Road but those who protested against the last mast are still unsatisfied with the location.

Gareth Evans, who set up a petition against the last mast, said: "Obviously they are going to keep trying to put this up - they will keep going."

Bob Hall, who stood for the ward in last month's election, also spoke out strongly against the mast.

Although he failed to win the seat he said he will "rally the troops" to campaign against the mast.

He said: "As with the last mast we cannot campaign on the health issues which I think are unresolved at the moment. If you go back to asbestos it took 30 years to come out there.

"I understand we need this masts but surely it they could use better planning and share telephone masts."

A study is currently taking place at Essex University over the next two years to determine any health implications caused by mobile phone masts.

Ipswich householders will be included although Professor Elaine Fox who is leading the study says she does not expect to find any problems caused by GSM masts such as those proposed by O2, but if there is any effect they should be able to detect it.

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