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The people of Stroud: You are not alone!.
I have replied to the newspaper in Stoud with the following:
I would like to let the good people of Stroud know that they are not alone!
This sad state of affairs is happening all over the UK and has indeed two weeks ago happened at Marlborough in Wiltshire.
Marlborough is very similar to Stroud, both are delightful little old English rural market towns, full of historic and listed buildings set in beautiful surroundings
and within or around conservation areas and ANOB’s. Like the people of Stroud, the residents of Marlborough would like to keep it that way. But no, the telecommunications giants are walking all over the UK, crushing us underfoot and changing the very nature and traditions of all that we hold dear.
Below are a few thoughts to encourage Stroud to fight on; why should we have all this equipment and environmental pollution imposed upon us against our wishes, putting the needs of the operator before our own? In our case the real culprit is BT who want to put these masts on their exchange roof against the wishes of their customers who live around it. At the end of the day, we are all the customers of these phone companies and they would do well to remember
the power that we have - if only it were coordinated effectively…
We too feel the despair that Stroud must be feeling right now.
We have thanked the regulatory committee for everything that they have done to support the people of Marlborough during the last three years.
We have been constantly supported by our Town Councilors and by the Regulatory Planning Committee and are very grateful that they rejected permission,
even though loosing an appeal will cost Kennet financially. I am sure that they are as dismayed by the decision as we are. We have written to ask them if
the planning authority is prepared to challenge this decision in the High Court on behalf of those in Marlborough, on the grounds that this decision wasn't
right, backing up their previous stance on the matter. We do not have the funds to take this to the High Court ourselves and so the bullying telecommunication company tactics win.
Naturally, I along with many of the residents living here, are devastated that this development can now proceed in our midst.
Many firmly believe that the radiation from these structures is likely to cause health problems and illnesses in the future and simply do not agree with the comments made by the Inspector in the appeal decision and we have written to tell them so.
There is much evidence being published regularly by various bodies but this Government chooses to ignore such findings.
Neither are many local residents in agreement with the views made by the Inspector - that in his opinion - the visual impact will be of an acceptable level
and would not have a detrimental impact on the settings of listed buildings. We clearly will be subjected to these eyesores everyday.
We asked whether the Planning Committee agrees with the inspector that this development will comply with Policies HH5, HH8, NR8, PPS7 and PPG8?
Despite numerous concerns raised by local residents in their objection letters only the two points seem to have been addressed: visual impact and health risks. No reference is made to concerns such as vehicular access and increased traffic to the site, economic impacts such as devalued property and the impact on local schools and impact of those families moving away are ignored. Neither is the issue of setting a precedent for all future telecommunication equipment in
this location and that impact on Policy NR8 given any consideration.
Given that Kennet District Council has an obligation to protect the environment on our behalf, we have strongly urged that this decision should be challenged
by the Council in order to comply with Article 130r of the European Treaties Act, which actively requires the protection of the environment, following a precautionary approach, preventing any type of environmental pollution at source. Kennet has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for those with disabilities and that includes the 15 - 25% of the population known to suffer with chemical and/or electromagnetic sensitivities who can experience debilitating reactions from exposure to extremely low levels of common chemicals such as pesticides, cleaning products, fragrances, and remodeling activities, and from electromagnetic fields emitted by computers, cell phones, and other electrical equipment. At present we have a choice about whether to use such products
and devices in our homes but we will have no choice about the microwave irradiation about to be unleashed over us 24/7/365.
Outside and industrial Noise pollution is another responsibility that Kennet has to protect us from under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Soon, many may well be troubled by low frequency noise or hum and no doubt be contacting the environmental health department at Kennet for help in
order to simply sleep at night. The inspector states that noise levels generated by equipment must not exceed 10db(A) above the background noise level
when measured at the boundary of adjoining properties (which means that to comply fully, the generated noise level would need to fluctuate with the
background noise level). But, when is background noise to be measured? At night it is very quiet, in daytime the lorries can be extremely loud. If it were
measured above this level, then the noise from equipment could be very loud at night, much above 10db(A) allowed by the inspector.
The inspector’s decision could be challenged on these grounds alone as it is not quantifiable and is open to abuse by the equipment operators.
So much research is now available to support evidence of potential health issues that I believe it is irresponsible to allow this development to proceed.
Everyone has been warned of potential risks, from tumors to cataracts and the decreased nighttime production of Nocturnal Melatonin and to ignore such
advice brings the prospect of legal proceedings against Operators, Landowners and Planning Authorities ever nearer.
The local people have made their views known clearly. The inspector’s decision represents the slow death of democracy and possibly the death of many
who live in Marlborough, and, unfortunately, it would seem in Stroud too.
INSPECTOR OVERTURNS PHONE MAST REFUSAL
A Planning inspector has overturned Stroud District Council's decision to oppose permission for a mobile phone mast at Thrupp.
Members of the public had applauded councillors when they rejected Vodafone's application for a 12-metre device in London Road on health
and visual intrusion grounds. But five months on, an inspector has decided in favour of the mobile phone company's proposal.
Last year almost 40 householders logged protest letters with the council about the mast.
Mother Lynn Cain said people were really worried about the health implications of the radiation from the mast.
She was especially concerned because it was near Stroud General Hospital.
However, Inspector Ken Barton said Vodafone's pole and cabinets would be screened by trees and would be "integrated into the locality to some extent".
"Public views and vantage points are limited and people are only likely to get a fleeting view of it," said Mr Barton.
"It would have an insignificant impact on the character and appearance of the area."
On the issue of health, the inspector said he noted the "strong local feeling", particularly about the school 400 metres away and two homes
100 metres from the pole. But the proposal had been designed to comply with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.
"PPG8 indicates that in these circumstances it should not be necessary to further consider the health aspects and concerns about them," he said.
The inspector's decision has been condemned by Green Party councillors as "undemocratic".
They said the mast and two equipment cabins would "blight" the London Road approach to Stroud.
"There has been enormous local opposition from Thrupp residents to this phone mast - no wonder people get disenchanted with democracy when
the decision of local councillors and the opinions of local people are overridden by an unelected bureaucrat," said Coun Martin Whiteside.
"It seems that this Government and the Planning Inspectorate are only interested in the profits of big business, not the opinions of local people".
On behalf of Vodafone, Jane Frapwell said the company planned to keep visual intrusion from the mast to a minimum.
"We are well aware that this is a conservation area and our obligations to make sure we reduce and visual impact and to provide a service locally,
" she said.
"This installation is a roadside slim pole which is designed to blend in with existing street furniture.
"In terms of health we recognise that some people do have concerns but we take our lead from expert international bodies such as the
World Health Organisation which has said that within the guideline levels there is no evidence of any adverse health effect from radio base stations.
"They are very low powered and provide a very local service."
David Corker, from Stroud District Council, said the authority would not incur any costs from the planning appeal because it was dealt with through
The Citizen, Gloucestershire-24 August 2005
MAST FIGHT BACK ON AFTER SITE MOVES 9FT
Residents have united in opposition against plans for a mobile phone mast near their homes.
A proposal for a 15-metre high antennae on a pavement near the Prince of Wales pub, in Cainscross, has been lodged with Stroud District Council.
The plan submitted by mobile phone company Hutchison 3G comes only months after the owners of the pub, Enterprise Inns plc, rejected a plan to install
a mast on the car park.
This followed opposition from residents including landlord Graham Lee.
The proposal would see a mast sited just three metres from the previous plot, although not on land owned by the pub company.
And the community has again reacted angrily to the new plan despite reassurances over the design and safety of the device.
Mr Lee, who has been landlord of the Prince of Wales for around 13 years, said he had concerns over both the design and health implications
of the mast.
"It's not a very good site," he said.
"We have got children ourselves and it will be about 20 or 30 feet away from the pub, which is somewhere a lot of people gather socially."
Mr Lee, who lives in the pub with wife Sarah and children Jessica, 16, and Thomas, 14, said pub regulars had also voiced concerns over the device.
"My neighbours particularly are very concerned as it is on their doorstep and I don't blame them," he said.
Councillor Darren Jones, a member of Cainscross Parish Council, said the community was shocked at the new plan.
"People mainly have fears over the health implications of the mast," he said.
"I know there's no concrete evidence there are any implications but there's no concrete evidence that there aren't effects on health.
"I think a precautionary approach would be better than just rubber-stamping applications like this."
But Hutchison 3G spokesman Mike Dobson said the mast complied with all health and safety regulations and would not be visually intrusive.
"From a visual perspective we have tried to make it as least intrusive as possible," he said.
"And from a health point of view we do meet the very stringent international health and safety guidelines that are set down by the International
Commission on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
"And so local people have nothing to fear."
Planning officer Andrew Case at Stroud District Council said health implications could not be considered and a decision was expected before August 4.
The Citizen Gloucestershire. 22 July 2005
FIND THE RIGHT PLACE FOR MAST
Mobile phone giant Hutchison 3G took on the wrong people when it decided to put up a mobile phone mast in Prestbury.
For Prestbury doesn't take anything lying down. And if it thinks that the health of its children, let alone that of its adult population, is at risk,
it will come out fighting. That's what happened yesterday when more than 300 people in the village turned out to let it be known in no uncertain terms
that they do not want a phone mast yards from Prestbury Play Mates playground and St Mary's Infant and Junior School.
They are not stupid. They have researched the evidence both for and against mobile phone masts.
And whilst there isn't any evidence that they are definitely harmful, nor is there any proof that they're not.
On that basis, the residents of Prestbury are joining those in Leckhampton and refusing to be bullied into having a mast on their doorstep.
The arguments about mobile phones and their alleged threats to health rumble on. And until there is conclusive evidence one way or another,
companies such as Hutchison 3G are going to face one battle after another.
No one in their right mind is going to accept a potentially lethal weapon on the roof next door - and no amount of rental revenue will convince
So the people of Prestbury are right to stick to their guns.
They may all have mobile phones.
They may all curse when the reception is lousy.
But those are minor irritations in the face of unknown health risks.
The solution is for phone companies to get together with local authorities and find suitable sites in faraway locations.
Let's face it - a phone mast is no more ugly and a lot less intrusive than an electricity pylon. It can't be that hard to find a proper place for them to go.
Until that happens, there's one thing for sure - putting them next to schools and playgroups is a non-starter.
Gloucester Echo. 21 July 2005
MAST PROTESTERS TURN OUT IN FORCE
Furious Prestbury residents turned out in force to oppose plans for a mobile phone mast on their doorsteps.
A crowd of 300 schoolchildren, parents, teachers, residents and councillors met outside St Mary's Church Hall, in Bouncers Lane.
Mobile phone giant Hutchison 3G want to put up a mast yards from Prestbury Play Mates playgroup and St Mary's Infant and Junior School.
Opponents say Hutchison have chosen the worst possible location.
Protest organiser Linda Dove said: "I hope the number of people here sends a clear message to Hutchison. Their mast isn't wanted."
Hutchison say it won't make them change their minds.
Spokesman Mike Dobson said: "They have a right to make their protest but this is the most suitable site."
Daphne Philpot, chairman of governors at St Mary's Junior School, said: "Our message is 'think again and be responsible'.
"Until there's proof that phone masts are not harmful they shouldn't be built near schools."
Hutchison wanted to put the phone mast in Cheltenham Cemetery - but the presence of badgers changed their plans.
The company wants to put the pole on the back of buildings next to the church hall. It would stick up above the building by 3.7m.
Prestbury resident David Barnett said: "My grandson goes to school over the road. Are badgers more important than him?
"It's ridiculous and simply for the sake of making money."
Tanya Wood took her nine-year-old son to the protest. She said: "We live in Chiltern Road and my son goes to the junior school.
He would be in the proximity of a phone mast for 24 hours. It can't be allowed."
Her son Arthur said: "My friends and I are worried about the health risks.
They should build it somewhere else."
St Mary's Junior School pupil Emily Wilsdon said: "Everyone thinks it's mad. It's not safe to be built near two schools and a playgroup.
It's a stupid idea and we want them to go away."
Coun Malcolm Stennett (PAB, Prestbury) said: "It's scandalous that this site is even being considered. Another location should be sought.
"We must keep the pressure on the mobile phone company. It worked for the residents in Leckhampton and it can here."
Coun Les Godwin (PAB, Prestbury) said: "An alternative site at the cemetery was agreed.
Hutchison have spent three years trying to find an excuse not to use it.
"We all know that badgers are a protected species but so are children."
There are 180 children at the infant school, 240 at the junior school and 24 children per session at the playgroup.
Dennis Thorn, of Glebe Road, said: "Can we guarantee the safety of so many children who live, play and go to school in the area?"
Hutchison spokesman Mr Dobson said: "We can assure people that our equipment complies with health and safety guidelines.
"The scientific balance of evidence is that masts such as this cause no adverse affects to health."
Gloucester Echo. 21 July 2005
Health fears in Stroud
TOWN MAST PLANS ON HOLD SAY PHONE FIRM
Controversial plans to build a mobile phone mast in Stroud town centre have been withdrawn.
But anti-mast campaigners cannot break out the champagne just yet as phone company Vodafone could still propose a new site in the area.
The application for the 12m high mast in Merrywalks, had caused controversy as the proposed site was close to two schools and bus stops in the town.
A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: "We are trying to agree an alternative location which will be nearer to the (old police station) roundabout.
"The reason we withdrew was because there were plans, of which we were unaware, for additional bus stops at that point."
Anti-antennae campaigner Lynne Edmunds is spokeswoman for the pressure group Mast Sanity.
She has been one of the main objectors to the proposal and warned the campaign against the phone companies was by no means over.
"This is just the beginning of what communities are facing with five separate companies all trying to roll out new networks of 3G," she said.
She said each fresh proposal needed to be looked at.
"People see each application as a new separate situation," she said. "This is all part of this 3G blast."
Miss Edmunds recently objected to the mast over concerns the radiation given off by the mast might harm the health of pupils at the nearby St Rose's
Special School and Rosary Primary School as well as bus passengers.
Shortly afterwards head teacher of The Rosary, Maria Lockey said she would also be against the siting of a mast so near to her classrooms.
She said she had intended to send a written protest to the Stroud District Council local planning authority.
"Any potential health hazards could be a risk to schoolchildren," she said.
"I am also concerned about the siting of the mast near bus stops where hundreds of children wait each day for buses."
Businesswoman Nicky Baldwin runs a spinal rehabilitation centre at the Old Convent, which overlooks Merrywalks.
She said she had been concerned about the mast near her work.
"I am not too enthralled about having it (the mast) really. I am concerned about my health," she said.
A spokeswoman for the council confirmed Vodafone had withdrawn their Merrywalks application.
They were still looking to lodge a proposal in the immediate area, she said.
Gloucester Citizen. - 13 July 2005
PHONE MAST APPEAL
All new phone masts should need full planning permission to allow local residents to object to them, West MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, right, insisted yesterday. The Cotswold Conservative told a special Commons debate the Government was not listening to people's concerns over the health and environment implications of telecoms masts.
Masts less than 40ft tall do not need full planning permission.
Western Daily Express. 29 June 2005
TAKE YOUR MAST OFF OUR DOORSTEP
Angry residents gathered last night to protest against plans to put a mobile phone mast 100m from a Cheltenham school.
Dozens of campaigners waved placards and called for the plans to be scrapped. The furious reaction was prompted by phone company Hutchison 3G.
It has informed Cheltenham Borough Council it intends to put a 15m mast at the corner of Mead Road and Churchill Road, near Naunton Park Primary School.
The council could be powerless to stop it as aerials that are 15m tall or less do not need planning permission.
Di Gallagher lives opposite the site and has four children ranging in age from 10 to 14.
She said: "I don't think this is an appropriate place. Hutchison don't seem to appreciate that this is primarily a residential area.
"The proximity to the school makes me anxious. I've got children there and the health risks haven't been proved either way.
"It's not a chance I want them to take with my children's health."
Eight-year-old Laurie Cleevely goes to Naunton Park School and joined the protest with his parents Lorraine and Adrian.
His mother said: "He doesn't know what this mast might hold for his future.
"We want to make sure he grows up into a healthy young man."
Raj Gandhi, who lives in Mead Road, was protesting along with his sons Neil, 16, and James, 11.
He said: "From a health point of view there's no definitive study to say mobile phone masts don't do any harm."
Helen Maslin, who lives in Asquith Road, added: "The mast will look shocking. It'll be a blight."
Householders have been fighting plans for a mast in the area for a year.
Coun Klara Sudbury (Con, All Saints'), chairwoman of the residents' association, said: "People are really upset about this.
"We just want to make our point that people feel strongly."
In August 2004 the company revealed plans to install a mast on Leckhampton Kitchens and Bathrooms' premises in Mead Road.
Residents were up in arms and the freeholder of the building bowed to pressure and decided not to allow it on the building.
Now Hutchison has come back with another proposal.
The company says it has tried to find something that works from a technical point of view and is the least intrusive to the community.
It believes the chosen site is the best it can find and says the mast will comply with strict national guidelines on radiation.
Gloucester news. 07 July 2005
WE'LL FIGHT TO SAVE CHILDREN FROM MAST RISK
Naunton Park residents are planning a mass protest against plans to site a mobile phone mast 100m from a school.
Hutchison 3G has informed Cheltenham Borough Council it intends to put a 15m mast on the corner of Mead Road and Churchill Road.
The council could be powerless to stop it as aerials that are 15 metres tall or less do not need planning permission.
Householders have been fighting plans for a mast in the area for a year.
In August 2004 the company revealed plans to install one on Leckhampton Kitchens and Bathrooms' premises in Mead Road.
Residents were furious and the freeholder of the building bowed to pressure and decided not to allow it on the building.
But now Hutchison has come back with another proposal.
Campaigners are hoping to persuade the company to change its mind by organising a protest at the site at 5.30pm on Wednesday.
Concerned residents and parents and pupils of Naunton Park School are invited to attend.
Steve Maslin, treasurer of the Naunton Park Area Residents' Association, said: "People are worried about the potential health risks
of mobile phone masts. It still isn't clear whether or not they will lead to health problems later on. It's crazy to put a mast so close to Naunton Park School.
"These are young children who don't use mobile phones. If this goes ahead it could have a negative impact on pupil numbers if parents decide to send their children elsewhere."
Coun Klara Sudbury (Con, All Saints'), chairwoman of the residents' association, added: "Residents feel let down by Hutchison.
"We've successfully made the case that a mast so close to homes and the school is not appropriate by seeing off two proposals.
"They should respect our concerns instead of using these bully boy tactics.
"The proposed mast will be next to the planter of flowers and two trees that we've had installed. We've worked tirelessly to improve the area but this mast
will be an eyesore. It's disheartening."
Hutchison says it has tried to find something that works from a technical point of view and is the least intrusive to the community.
The company believes the chosen site is the best it can find and says the mast will comply with strict national guidelines on radiation.
Gloucester Echo 02 July 2005
Angry MPs blast the Government
MP BLASTS INACTION OVER PHONE MASTS
06 July 2005
Mps yesterday rounded on the Government, accusing ministers of inaction over mobile phone masts, as an increasing number of communities rebelled against applications. About 15 MPs turned up at a debate in Westminster Hall to highlight the mounting frustration in their constituencies over masts, which they fear
are a health hazard.
The debate was led by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the Tory MP for the Cotswolds, who called for a shake-up of the planning regime to impose more controls on phone operators.
"It is deeply ironic that mobile phones, created to allow a connection and conversations between those separated by distance, have only proven
just how distant this Government is, and incapable of listening even to the most persistent interlocutors," he said.
"Each time the Government has gone through the motions of listening to the public's concerns, it quickly becomes apparent that really no action
has been taken at all."
Mr Clifton-Brown said, after the Stewart report in 2000 that recommended a "precautionary approach" to mobile phone technology, ministers promised
to hold consultation exercises.
"However, it seems clear to me that this obese Government hasn't taken enough exercise and must now be shown how to get mobile phone masts
planning regulations back into shape."
MAST PLANS ANGER
An anti-mast campaigner has condemned as "monstrous" plans to erect a mobile phone mast close to two Stroud schools.
Mast Sanity spokeswoman Lynne Edmunds said it was "totally unacceptable" that Vodafone had applied to put up a third generation antennae on the pavement between two bus stops in Merrywalks. The 12m-high mast would tower over the Rosary Primary School and St Rose's Special School, said Miss Edmunds.
"It is the worst plan since the Tetras (police system) four years ago," said Miss Edmunds, who is concerned about possible ill-effects the health of local pupils.
"Vodafone clearly pays no attention to the vulnerability of children," she said.
But Vodafone spokeswoman Jane Frapwell said: "We are talking here about very low-powered devices - about as powerful as a light bulb.
"They have to be stationed where mobile phone users are. If we put it on a hill outside of Stroud it would only cover the hill."
Ms Frapwell said: "There are guidelines designed to protect all sectors of the public."
A few months ago Miss Edmunds and Mast Sanity backed a protest that blocked proposals for a similar Hutchison 3G mast near The Shrubberies, a special school in Stonehouse.
The Merrywalks mast would be only 175 metres from St Rose's and 120 metres from The Rosary, said Miss Edmunds.
Miss Edmunds said she feared radiation from the mast would also affect bus passengers.
Stroud District Council senior planning officer Andrew Case said the Vodafone application was already out to public consultation.
Regulations stated representations could be made about its site and appearance until a deadline of July 15
CHURCH: WE COULD PUT A PHONE MAST IN OUR TOWER
Church leaders at St Philip and St James' in Leckhampton are planning to put a mobile phone mast in the tower. The church council has provisionally agreed to the request from QS4 Ltd.
The church, which would receive an annual fee for hosting the equipment, believes the mast would be less of an eyesore inside the building than outside.
It says there is a need for a mast in Leckhampton because there is poor network coverage in the area.
Residents and councillors are dismayed.
Borough councilllor Robin MacDonald (Leckhampton, Con) attacked the move.
He said: "I don't agree with it. There are a lot of residents around there and I hope they consult with them.
"Putting it in the tower doesn't destroy the health hazards. It will still have radiation coming out of it."
He added: "The need for money is up to the church.
"But it would be a shame if they put that before people in the area."
The vicar, the Rev Canon Peter Chicken, said he was aware it was a sensitive issue.
He said: "The church council gave it a great deal of thought and was unanimous in giving it approval.
"Having examined the facts we were convinced that the risks to health and safety were minute. We take our responsibilities to the community very seriously."
Mr Chicken said the church intends to use the income to further its work with children and young people in the parish.
He added that there will be no final decision on whether the project will go ahead for at least three months, and there will be an opportunity for concerns or objections to be heard.
Gloucester Echo. - 02 June 2005
CHELTENHAM: NO MAST HERE!
Enforcement officers stepped in to stop mobile phone giant O2 working on a mast built in the wrong place in Warden Hill.
Residents bombarded Cheltenham Borough Council with complaints when they realised engineers were connecting the mast in Shurdington Road to the mains. In March, the borough council warned O2 it was building the mast in the wrong place, but work continued.
The installation is 9.5m closer to the bus stop than approved.
The company submitted a retrospective planning application and has been running the mast off a generator ever since.
But on Tuesday residents spotted workmen trying to connect the mast to mains electricity. They rang the council in their droves to complain.
Planning enforcement officers moved in at 4pm and told the workmen to stop.
Grahame Lewis, Cheltenham Borough Council's assistant director for the built environment, said: "Work has been halted until members of the planning committee have had an opportunity to decide upon the application.
"It's extremely annoying that the company has opted to undertake this work at this time, and we'll do all we can to make sure it complies with national policy.
"The company's regional headquarters will be contacted and advised of the council's very serious concerns regarding this action."
Paul Ryder, who lives opposite the mast in Hawkswood Road, said: "O2 has no planning permission. We didn't want the mast in the first place and now they've put it in the wrong place.
"The council needs to take a hard line. I guarantee if I put up a tree house across the road, the council would be on me like a tonne of bricks.
"I want the work stopped and the mast moved to its right place."
Neighbour Dawn Harris said: "It's disgraceful. I've just had an extension built and if I have to abide by planning regulations, why shouldn't O2?
"None of us wanted the mast but all we want is for them to play by the rules."
Angela Johnson, O2's community relation's manager, stood firm.
She said: "The planning authority was happy for us to put in a retrospective planning application and the enforcement officer has not issued any stop notice.
"As far as we're concerned, we're perfectly at liberty to continue work on the mast."
Gloucester Echo. - 02 June 2005
The Citizen Gloucestershire
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