Protest at new call to install phone mast

PUBLISHED: 14:43 09 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:11 06 May 2010

CAMPAIGNERS have been mobilised again after an appeal was lodged to try to get planning permission for a 10m high phone mast. Residents in and around Hitchin Road in Letchworth GC fought against the lamppost mast and three equipment cabinets earlier this

CAMPAIGNERS have been mobilised again after an appeal was lodged to try to get planning permission for a 10m high phone mast.

Residents in and around Hitchin Road in Letchworth GC fought against the lamppost mast and three equipment cabinets earlier this year.

Their efforts paid off and the Letchworth Committee of North Herts District Council turned down the application in August.

But now T-Mobile has lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate and campaigners are once again fighting to stop the plans.

They say they have health concerns about the mast and are also worried about the visual impact.

T-Mobile says that it needs the mast to provide 3G coverage in the town. But campaigners argue this could be done with fewer larger masts and are urging people to write to the planning inspectorate.

Alan Cox from Hitchin Road, said: "This is just a test for T-Mobile. Their preferred method appears to be to put in lamppost masts rather than bigger ones.

"There's a potential for lamppost masts appearing throughout Letchworth.

"Anyone with a lamppost near them could find it turning into a mast."

The campaigners have set up a website and have also started a petition, which so far has collected 500 signatures.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said: "As far as we're concerned we need the base station to provide 3G coverage for that area."

The spokesman added that the frequencies allocated to networks for 3G coverage mean that base stations can only cover radiuses of 500 - 600m and so all networks will need to use more of the smaller-type masts.

o The petition against the mast is available to sign at David's Bookshop, Eastcheap; Manor Pharmacy, Broadway; Cox's Fish and Chip Shop, Arena Parade; Letchworth Corner Shop (formerly Corner Post Office), 2 Baldock Road; and Lordship Farm Foodmarket, 3 Lordship Centre, Howard Drive. The website can be found at www.freewebs.com/letch worthaction. All letters on the issue must reach the planning inspectorate by November 24.

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