«Latest  ‹Forward   News item: 83  Back›  Oldest» 

Kent:
United Kingdom Created: 10 Jul 2005
LEGAL LOOPHOLE ENDS MAST FIGHT

Residents in North Tonbridge are distraught after losing a battle over the erection of a phone mast in their road.
Contractors working for T-Mobile have been given the final go-ahead to continue work at the junction between Hunt Road and Constable Road,
after a legal investigation showed the land owners had no powers to prevent it.
The triangle of land is owned by housing association Russet Homes, which acquired it in 1991.
When work started at the site two weeks ago Russet Homes requested T-Mobile stop as it had not been granted permission.
As previously reported in the Kent and Sussex Courier, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council originally refused planning permission for the
11.7m high mast in June last year but permission was granted on appeal in March.
However, Russet Homes still refused to give the permission needed before work could begin.
On August 8 work was suspended while both sides approached their solicitors for legal advice.
However, head of housing management at Russet Homes Anthony Cross revealed on Monday that although the association owned the land,
it had been adopted by Kent County Council which maintained it as part of the highway.
He said: "Having sought legal advice, unfortunately Russet Homes has no powers to prevent erection of the mast on the land that forms part
of the highway."
Mr Cross was disappointed with the decision and said Russet Homes shared the residents' concern of placing the mast in the heart of a residential
area.
Residents were concerned over the health and visual impact of the slim-line monopole that will support three antennas and a microwave dish.
They were also angry it has been allowed in a residential area that lies between Woodland Infant and Junior Schools and the playgroup, at the
Methodist Church.
Chairman of Higham Road Residents Association Peter Reed who led the campaign against the mast said: "This legal loophole apparently allows
T-Mobile to go ahead with the mast as a utility."
He added: "T-Mobile is saying it has to have all these masts but we feel there is no necessity for it as the reception for 3G mobile telephones here
is adequate."
Hunt Road resident Betty O'Loughlin said: "I am devastated. Surely they could have found somewhere without people and babies walking past to
get to the school?"
A spokesman for T-Mobile said the operator had similar rights of access to such land as other utilities, of which there was ample evidence on this site.
It has already put the foundations in place and is currently finalising the details of when work will start.
Residents in North Tonbridge are distraught after losing a battle over the erection of a phone mast in their road.
Contractors working for T-Mobile have been given the final go-ahead to continue work at the junction between Hunt Road and Constable Road,
after a legal investigation showed the land owners had no powers to prevent it.
The triangle of land is owned by housing association Russet Homes, which acquired it in 1991.
When work started at the site two weeks ago Russet Homes requested T-Mobile stop as it had not been granted permission.
As previously reported in the Kent and Sussex Courier, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council originally refused planning permission for the
11.7m high mast in June last year but permission was granted on appeal in March.
However, Russet Homes still refused to give the permission needed before work could begin.
On August 8 work was suspended while both sides approached their solicitors for legal advice.
However, head of housing management at Russet Homes Anthony Cross revealed on Monday that although the association owned the land,
it had been adopted by Kent County Council which maintained it as part of the highway.
He said: "Having sought legal advice, unfortunately Russet Homes has no powers to prevent erection of the mast on the land that forms part of
the highway."
Mr Cross was disappointed with the decision and said Russet Homes shared the residents' concern of placing the mast in the heart of a residential
area.
Residents were concerned over the health and visual impact of the slim-line monopole that will support three antennas and a microwave dish.
They were also angry it has been allowed in a residential area that lies between Woodland Infant and Junior Schools and the playgroup, at the
Methodist Church.
Chairman of Higham Road Residents Association Peter Reed who led the campaign against the mast said:
"This legal loophole apparently allows T-Mobile to go ahead with the mast as a utility."
He added: "T-Mobile is saying it has to have all these masts but we feel there is no necessity for it as the reception for 3G mobile telephones
here is adequate."
Hunt Road resident Betty O'Loughlin said: "I am devastated. Surely they could have found somewhere without people and babies walking past
to get to the school?"
A spokesman for T-Mobile said the operator had similar rights of access to such land as other utilities, of which there was ample evidence on this site.
It has already put the foundations in place and is currently finalising the details of when work will start.
Kent and Sussex Courier. 26 August 2005
******************************************************'
RESIDENTS ANGRY AS MAST APPEAL WINS A GO-AHEAD

Angry residents in North Tonbridge have protested against a mobile phone mast being erected on their doorstep.
Plans for the controversial mast on land at the junction of Hunt Road and Constable Road have raised concerns among residents over its visual impact and the possible effects on their health.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council originally refused planning permission for the 11.7m high mast last June.
However T-Mobile appealed and a visit was made to the site in March by a Secretary of State-appointed inspector.
The inspector decided to grant permission for the slimline monopole that will hold three antennas and a microwave dish on the area that already holds gas and electricity units.
But residents are angry that the mast has been allowed in a densely populated residential area that lies between Woodlands Infant and Junior Schools and the playgroup held at the Methodist church.
Resident Betty O'Loughlin put together a petition with nearly 200 signatures when the original application was made last year.
She was disappointed by the decision and said: "I don't know what else we can do. I don't know why they have put it there when people will be walking past all the time."
Mrs O'Loughlin, who was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the war, was most concerned about the health effects and said: "The government said the same thing about radar and how it wouldn't do any harm, but I know for a fact that one man I worked with had a rash for the rest of his life from his contact with a radar mast."
Another Hunt Road resident, George Carey, who will be able to see the mast from his bedroom window said: "It will be unsightly and could pose long-term risks to the health of the surrounding residents."
The 58-year-old said that as both he and his wife Jennifer were disabled they were in the house more than the average family.
He also suspected that Kent County Council, which is believed to own the island, would receive a generous rent from the mast as he claimed £5,000 was offered to the Methodist church as developers originally wanted to place it there.
A spokesman for the county council denied this and said money was only offered for private land.
Stephanie Genner, of Hunt Road, has a 15-year-old son with cystic fibrosis and she wrote an initial letter of objection.
She said: "We don't know the effects on people's health and I need to maintain my health for when my son gets more ill."
But a report published by the National Radiological Protection Board in 2000 concluded: "The balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near base stations, on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of guidelines."
Mrs O'Loughlin disagreed and said she had read an article in a national newspaper about a man who had managed to roast a chicken on the top of a mobile mast.
The expert who led the research, NRPB chairman Sir William Stewart added: "Some people worry about the radio waves from mobile phone masts and we want to provide as much clear information as we can on this topic.
"Many of the concerns can relate to planning matters rather than scientific and health issues. This is a matter we expect to return to when NRPB issues a statement on mobile phones and health later this year."
Despite this, new information released by the group this year recommended that exposure to vulnerable groups such as children should be minimised.
Another planning application has been put forward by T-Mobile to erect an 8.5m high mobile phone mast at the junction of Hadlow Road and Three Elm Lane.
This is Kent. BY ALEXANDRA CHALMERS. - 27 May 2005

«Latest  ‹Forward   News item: 83  Back›  Oldest»