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Mums mobilise to stop work on phone mast
Wales Created: 8 Nov 2009
ANGRY mums spent yesterday morning protecting their children’s school from a 41ft phone mast.

Workmen from mobile phone company O2 turned up at Christ the King Roman Catholic Primary School in Llanishen, Cardiff, to start digging, despite plans to build the mast being rejected last July.

O2 claims that a council error means it can now erect the mast, but Cardiff council deny this.

The parents, along with staff at the school, said they knew nothing about the building plans until they dropped their children off yesterday.

And the furious mums stayed at the school until 1pm to make sure that work could not go ahead. Work was eventually suspended for the day, but officials from O2 will now meet with planning officers and local MP Julie Morgan on Monday to discuss the site.

Parents have long protested against the mast, arguing that rays transmitted could damage pupils’ health.

Veronica Camilleri, 47, has a seven-year-old son, Ted, at the school.

Mrs Camilleri, who is also on the board of governors, said: “No-one has been told anything about this. Our main concern is the health and safety of the children.”

Deputy head at the school Patrick Affley added: “The school wasn’t informed by O2 about this taking place.

“As far as we are aware, the planning permission was rejected last year and that was the end of it.”

Secretary of the school’s Parents and Friends Association Josephine Prendergast, 41, who has a five-year-old son, James, at the school, said: “We’ve been told this is the ideal place for the mast.

“But there must be somewhere else away from the school where it can be placed. It’s completely unacceptable.”

The plans for the mast, just metres from the school which has 205 pupils aged four to 11, were originally put forward last year.

They were turned down by Cardiff council because the mast did not fit in with the surrounding area.

A 500-name petition was also put forward opposing the plans.

But Angela Johnson, community relations manager for O2, said: “We have got consent to build because of an error by the council.

“It didn’t follow the correct process.

“It has to write to us and acknowledge receipt of the application being rejected within 56 days.

“It didn’t do that and we therefore have permission by default.”

Cardiff council denies this and a spokesperson said: “The refusal decision was made within the specified 56-day period and O2 was informed of this.

“However, O2 claim that it has the right to proceed to install the mast as the planning authority had not confirmed that such approval was necessary.

“Cardiff council is very concerned about this matter and is attempting to arrange an urgent meeting with O2.”
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Source: Wales Online, 07 Nov 2009

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