UNHAPPY residents are getting ready to petition in protest against plans to put up a mobile phone mast near to their homes.

Telecommunications giant 02 released a pre-planning application proposing to install a communications mast on an existing flagpole attached to the King William pub in Barkston Avenue, Chapelfields, York, earlier this year.

The company said the mast, which has caused controversy among local residents, councillors and governors at the nearby Westfield Primary Community School, was needed provide 3G coverage to the Chapelfields and Acomb areas.

As previously reported, school chiefs at Westfield Primary, led by City of York Council leader Andrew Waller – a governor at the school – sent a protest letter to 02 after the proposed plans were detailed in the pre-planning consultation – citing concerns over associated health risks that a mast in such close proximity to the school could cause. Coun Waller said at the time he was standing up on behalf on fellow school governors and local residents who shared an overwhelming concern of a phone mast being installed in the middle of a residential estate and near the primary school.

Despite this, the mobile phone giant carried ahead with plans infuriating local residents who are now set join forces to block the plan.

In 2002, village residents won a battle to stop a 20-metre mobile phone mast near the school at Broad Lane being built through a petition signed by dozens of furious locals.

Rosie Wall, who used to run Chapelfields Residents’ Association, which led the petition at the time, said campaigners should do the same again to overturn the proposal.

“A petition is something we need to do again,” she said.

“The spot where O2 has said it will build the mast is bang in the centre of a residential estate and very close to a primary school which is completely unsuitable.

“Something needs to be done to stop it. These telecommunication companies are getting away with far too much. A petition helped put a stop to this before and it could again.”

Coun Waller said: “The proposal may have been submitted to the council, but nobody is going back down over this one.” He added that he would be “more than happy” to sign a petition to stop a mast erected in the area.

“I fully support the feelings of local residents,” he said. “If or when a petition is put in place, I will back it.”

In the proposal, O2 said it understands there sometimes can be concerns when locating base stations in communities but dismissed claims that masts could be detrimental to health. A spokesperson stated: “O2 takes advice from UK and international bodies such as the Health Protection Agency.

“Working with their guidelines, there is no substantiated scientific evidence that mobile phone stations pose a threat to health.”

Have your say

What do you think about the mobile phone mast scheme?