Fears over mobile mast plan near Fiveaways pub

Families living close to the Fiveways pub in West Earlham are being urged to give their views on plans to instal a mobile phone mast outside their local barely a week after campaigners fought off a scheme nearby.

Mobile phone firms Vodafone and O2 are believed to be considering a bid to place a phone mast on the grass verge outside the Fiveways pub in Gipsy Lane. A planning application is likely to be submitted in the next 10 days, but people living in the area are being asked their views as part of an initial consultation process. The move comes as city planners last week rejected a bid for two masts, a 14.8m tower with antennas outside the Shoemaker Pub in Earlham Road West Centre, and a 15m mast outside Earlham Police Station in Earlham Road, because the height and siting of them were deemed to be unacceptable.

But the news has come as a surprise to staff at the Fiveways Pub. Landlord James Brant said: 'I don't know anything about it. We wouldn't be too pleased about putting it out there without any comment from us.'

In February it emerged that Norwich could see more masts spring up as companies try to meet the demand of mobile phone usage and the increasing use of smart phones, with applications lodged in and around the city, including Earlham, Thorpe St Andrew, Hellesdon, Heartsease, Sprowston and Old Catton. Green city councillor Rupert Read is urging people to give their views on the plans.

He said while the party favoured mobile companies co-operating on sites to reduce the need for more masts, he was concerned they should not be put too close to where people live. 'We expect there may be concern over whether a phone mast should be placed here,'

Dr Read said. 'If there are to be more masts erected anywhere in Norwich, they should avoid being too close to dwellings.

'This area has many people living and working in it all the time; it doesn't seem appropriate as a potential site. We believe that further investigation is needed into links between phone masts and health issues and we would like to see the current national planning rules strengthened to give councils stronger powers over the siting of masts.'

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Jim Stevenson, Vodafone/O2 spokesman, said the aim was to cope with the increasing demand for smartphones in the area and the company was keen to gauge residents' views.

Are you fighting a planning application where you live? Call Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk

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