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Mast is no eyesore, says farmer

PUBLISHED: 20:05 04 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 March 2010

IN the face of protests from nearby residents, an Ipswich farmer today defended hopes to have a mobile phone mast on his farm.

Richard Cook of Thurleston Lane said the 60 ft high antennae won't be an eyesore because if planning permission is granted it will be tucked away behind trees.

IN the face of protests from nearby residents, an Ipswich farmer today defended hopes to have a mobile phone mast on his farm.

Richard Cook of Thurleston Lane said the 60 ft high antennae won't be an eyesore because if planning permission is granted it will be tucked away behind trees.

Instead Mr Cook – whose 72 acre farm has been in his family for 80 years – says he is faced with a bigger eyesore as joyriders set fire to abandoned vehicles on a field set aside to grow hay for his horses.

Householders petitioned to stop the antennae being put on a field next to Whitton allotments and the BMX track.

Mobile phone company Orange, who made the planning application, offered Mr Cook the chance to disguise the top of the mast so people will hardly know it is there.

The 56-year-old, of Spring Meadow Farm, said: "There is already mobile phone masts on pylons near here. The pylons are too remote for the area of deficient coverage along Church Lane and Defoe Road.

"I am not some greedy farmer. I am struggling to make a living and support my wife. I am close to retirement age and would like to think I have a little nest egg at the end of the day.

"The mast is not going to be an eyesore. The trees are 40 ft high. You may see the top part of it but the phone company says they can make that look like a dead tree or a fir tree.

"It is not near a school. I have seen children around this area and they have all got mobile phones. It is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. They want the phone but not the mast.

"I wouldn't want anything put up to hurt anybody. But no body turns down this sort of money especially the way agriculture goes at the moment. Farmers are struggling. My machinery is over 20 years old."

He said the nearest houses would be 250 yards away down Whitton Church Lane.

Meanwhile Mr Cook said 15 cars have been dumped on his farm in the past two years. Each one costs £25 to remove although during this period the council has taken five away.

"It is a nightmare. You try to grow a crop of hay to feed the horses and cars or bikes are driven across the field. It is heartbreaking.

"To give you some indication of the damage last year I had 50 bales of hay and the year before just over 1,200 although some of that was caused by the weather."

Mid Suffolk District Council confirmed they had received a petition and letters of objection to the planning application.


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