Fury at Romford phone mast proposal

A PROPOSAL to put a mobile phone mast in Gidea Park has been met with criticism by local residents and users of a nearby day centre.

They fear if the mast is approved it could bring with it potential health hazards caused by radiation and are concerned there has not been enough consultation by O2 and Vodafone to allay their concerns.

The 12.5 metre dual-user mast, supporting six antennas in a glass reinforced plastic shroud with equipment cabinets is proposed to be installed on the roof of 46-48 Brentwood Road, which is occupied by Havering Building Specialists Ltd.

Deirdre Collins, 40, who lives in Brentwood Road and has led the campaign against the proposal, said: “The Government commissioned a report by The Stewart Group which clearly states phone masts shouldn’t be within 500 metres of schools and Raphael Independent School is only 400 metres away.

“It says children absorb 50 to 60 per-cent more omissions than adults and are more at risk.”

She also raised concerns over the close proximity it would be to the Elim Christian Centre, which is used by playgroups, a pupil referral unit and The Learning Centre which, she said, is attached to the HBS building itself.

The Learning Centre, owned by Havering Christian Fellowship Church, set just off Brentwood Road in Craigdale Road, is used on weekdays as a day service for adults with learning disabilities. At other times it is used for activities, believed to include a children’s nursery and antenatal class.

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Director of The Learning Centre, Mick Spence, said: “Our concern is that obviously there seems to be no consultation. I think quite honestly to put it on top of something in a residential area isn’t very good.”

Mrs Collins said: “There’s an industrial site up the road where it could go which wouldn’t bother anyone.”

She also criticised HBS for putting money before the community because the company accepts a rent from the phone companies to allow the mast on top of the building.

A spokesman for HBS said: “These aerials are everywhere and from what I understand it’s never been proven that they cause any health damage.”

Jim Stevenson, communications manager for O2 and Vodafone, who said there would be consultation with residents, said: “There is nothing within legislation determining distances masts should be placed from schools. We have a voluntary code of conduct we adhere to.”

“I want to reassure people they shouldn’t be under any fear at all of this causing any difficulties to health or safety. There have been countless investigations in the past and none of them have come up with any evidence at all to suggest there are health and safety problems associated with phone masts.”

People have until Wednesday, November 17 to submit their comments to the proposal.