Not hi-tech but message is clear

PETITIONS and letters may not be as hi-tech as text messaging, but look set to succeed for families fighting moves to site a mobile phone mast next to homes.

PETITIONS and letters may not be as hi-tech as text messaging, but look set to succeed for families fighting moves to site a mobile phone mast next to homes.

Felixstowe residents have transmitted their worries in the traditional way – and councillors are being recommended to take the unusual step of refusing a mast.

Planners have received a 45-signature petition, eight letters, and representations from four councillors against Hutchinson 3G's scheme for a 10 metre mast on the grass verge at the corner of Grange Road and Coronation Drive.

They express fears about the effect on the health of children playing in the area – at school, in gardens, on a nearby play area and in the street, and the effect of the mast's beams going through youngsters' bedrooms.


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Residents also fear the mast will be an eyesore, a target for vandals, and alternative sites – such as Peewit Hill and Trinity 2000 – should be investigated.

Suffolk Coastal council's development control sub committee is being recommended on Thursday by officers to refuse the mast because of "significant public concern" over health and safety.

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If councillors do reject it, it will bring hope for a second group of parents further down Grange Road who are also objecting to Hutchison 3G placing a mast in an identical situation, with a school even closer.

It will also raise the question of whether competing phone companies should be allowed to put up masts on every street corner throughout housing areas.

Government is satisfied that there is no danger to health from masts and their associated equipment – though the experts say there is not enough data available yet to say for certain.

They have advised a "precautionary approach", especially near schools.

But the Felixstowe protesters say if government has accepted that the beam from the mast should not fall on a school, why is it not of equal concern that the beam passes through children's bedrooms much closer to the mast?

In a report to councillors, planning officers say: "The location of this mast within a residential area close to family housing, and children's play areas, makes it likely that the beam of greatest intensity will indeed pass through buildings close to the mast.

"The health and safety implications for those residents, particularly children, seem likely to be at least as high as for children on school premises."

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