Residents unite against phone mast plans

A GROUP of campaigners are standing firm against an application to put up an enormous mobile phone mast outside their homes.Residents in Stoke Park, Ipswich are trying to block plans for the 12.

A GROUP of campaigners are standing firm against an application to put up an enormous mobile phone mast outside their homes.

Residents in Stoke Park, Ipswich are trying to block plans for the 12.5m pylon to be erected in the middle of the densely populated area.

It's the third time that telecommunications giant 02 has applied to Ipswich Borough Council for planning permission, in order to improve phone coverage in the nearby Maidenhall area.

The application had previously been rejected in February 2006 and once more in August of the same year.


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This second application was reviewed under appeal by the Planning Inspectorate and rejected yet again in February 2007.

If permission is finally granted this time, the mast will dominate the skyline at the junction of Prince of Wales Drive and Stoke Park Drive and be just 500 metres away from Halifax primary school and 800m from St Joseph's College and Stoke High school.

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John Prestwood, of Tintern Close started the campaign. He said: “The site has changed on each application but only in a 50 metres radius around the same road junction. The planning consent was rejected on all previous occasions due to contravention to local planning regulations and the visual impact on the surrounding area. The council did not take in to consideration the potential health risks especially being so close to a school.”

Through door to door canvassing, Mr Prestwood has managed to drum up 130 signatures for the petition to halt plans. Just one person asked said they would support the arrival of the mast.

All representations have to be submitted to the council by Monday and Mr Prestwood is eager to hear from more people.

He said: “We have to draw as much support as possible. It didn't seem like anyone was going to object to it so here we are making some noise but we don't have much time left to act.”

Stephen Thorn, Environmental Officer for Stoke Park Residents Association, said: “We have seen the current planning application and our views have not changed. This application is not materially different from previous ones and all our objections about it being obtrusive still stand. We are concerned, particularly because the mast is supposed to be for the Maidenhall area and not Stoke Park.”

James Stevenson, Community Relations Manager for 02, said: “We carried out what is known as a network plan of the area and found a weakness in Maidenhall and Stoke Park. We feel the mast would be positioned in an optimum point to benefit both areas.”

The last submission date for representations is on Monday.

n. Are you concerned by the application? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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