UK: Concern over mobile phone tower by nursery school

FEARS have been raised over plans for a mobile phone power base station only metres from a children’s nursery in Henley.

Vodafone and Telefonica O2 UK want to offer 3G coverage in the town by installing a mast at the far end of the station’s long-stay car park.

The latticed metal tower, with a galvanised finish, would be 18m high, with 3m antenna equipment on the top.

But a town councillor says he is concerned that the site is less than 10m from the Treetops Nursery School.

Councillor Martin Akehurst said: “I have always been a bit suspicious of microwave phone masts.

“I would imagine the parents of children at the nursery will be up in arms. I would like to see the tower 100m away, 10m is far too close.

“There will be a lot of power going through the six dishes on the mast.”

In a letter to Henley Town Council, Damian Hosker, town planner for WHP Projects, said: “There is a specific requirement for a radio base station to provide new 3G coverage in the area.Mobiles can only work with a network of base stations in places where people want to use their mobile phones or other wireless devices.

“All Vodafone and O2 installations are designed to be fully compliant with the public exposure guidelines established by the International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.

“These guidelines have the support of the Government, the European Union and the formal backing of the World Health Organisation.

“A certificate of compliance will be included in the planning submission.”

Speaking at a meeting of the council’s planning committee last week, chairman Dieter Hinke said: “It is positive that 02 and Vodafone are getting together to share masts but what concerns me is where it is.

“Everyone goes through there to the river and rowing museum with their children, or to have a coffee. The mast is also incredibly high.”

Councillor David Clenshaw said: “It is amazingly tall and the tower is going to be visible from the riverside and from most of Henley I would have thought.”

Councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said the nursery should be consulted.

Councillor Sam Evans said the council should take up the company’s offer to discuss the plan and added: “I get the impression that they are trying to be considerate.”

The committee voted to meet with planners for a more detailed discussion.

Councillor Will Hamilton told the Standard: “On the one hand, we have to be cutting edge with vital technology improvements, allowing the communication carriers to increase capacity, speed and broadband delivery.

“On the other, we have to be sensible in recognising that Henley is very special and that these masts need to be positioned amicably.”

A spokeswoman for the nursery said it was hoped the applicants would consult Treetops.

lWhat do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley, RG89 1AD or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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