Move to nip mast plan in the bud

MORE than 700 signatures have been gathered to try to stop a 10m high phone mast being erected in the heart of a picturesque residential area. Residents sprang into action when they found out that T-Mobile was looking to put a mast outside the post offic

MORE than 700 signatures have been gathered to try to stop a 10m high phone mast being erected in the heart of a picturesque residential area.

Residents sprang into action when they found out that T-Mobile was looking to put a mast outside the post office on Norton Road, Letchworth GC.

The phone company has not yet applied for planning permission, but has consulted local schools over the proposal, prompting residents to set up the Norton Road Area Conservation Group (NRACG).

The group has already written to TCI, the agents for T-Mobile.


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T-Mobile wants to put up the mast to provide coverage for Norton but the group believes that three existing sites nearby - including one in Blackhorse Road owned by T-Mobile - could be upgraded to do the job.

Richard Barr from NRACG said: "I think they've not been thorough in looking at existing sites.

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"One of the things that the mobile phone operators pride themselves on is doubling up on masts that are already in existence.

"There are three existing installations, two of which don't appear to have be considered at all."

The group is also objecting to the mast on health grounds.

In its letter to TCI, it says that "uncertainty still remains amongst scientists and medical experts" about the long term impact of exposure to radiation.

The letter adds that residents in the area "are not willing to run this risk, particularly with our children".

The group also feels the location of the mast is inappropriate and will have a "negative impact through visual intrusion".

The site is between two English Heritage listed buildings and is one of the main entry points to Letchworth GC.

Mr Barr said: "We recognise the need but think the need could be met with alternatives.

"I think there could be a solution that all parties could be happy with."

A spokesman for T-Mobile said that because of the group's letter, the company was going to investigate sharing an existing site owned by Orange and also whether or not the T-Mobile mast in Blackhorse Road could be upgraded.

However, the spokesman stressed that T-Mobile "can't make any promises without going through the processes".

He added: "We need that base station to provide 3G services to that part of Letchworth. The problem with these is because of the frequencies we've been allocated we need more base stations."

He said the masts will meet health and safety guidelines and that a planning application is likely to be made within the next week or two.

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