Petition launched as Stowmarket campaign against phone mast near two schools steps up

A mobile phone mast in Basingstoke, Hampshire, as Chancellor Philip Hammond said that the investment

A mobile phone mast in Basingstoke, Hampshire, as Chancellor Philip Hammond said that the investment of £1 billion in high-speed fibre broadband across the country and 5G mobile data trials will help create a "world class digital infrastructure" to boost the UK's productivity. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday November 23, 2016. As part of a new National Productivity Fund worth £23 billion that will also include increased spending on the driverless car research, the Government will provide investment to private sector businesses to roll out full fibre broadband by 2021. See PA story BUDGET 5G. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Objectors campaigning against a mobile phone mast next to two Suffolk schools have launched a petition, in the hope they can stop the plans.

Hundreds of people living on the Chilton estate in Stowmarket have already signed the petition, with residents raising concerns around the impact on school children’s health from exposure to the 60 foot mast.

A health and safety assessment from the company behind the mast, Shared Access, states that the microwave radiation levels are well within safe exposure limits in both the short and long term.

However, with a planning application seeking permission behind Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, between Stockmarket High School and Wood Ley Primary School, many residents have taken exception.

Denise Askew, organiser of the petition and an online action group, said: “I don’t think we should be taking the risk when it is young children being exposed. I have seen nothing that makes me think it is worth the risk.

“I think people are waking up now and starting to take notice of what is planned. We do not even have poor 4G reception in the area, so another reason is that there is just simply no need for the mast. It is going to reduce the value of our houses as well.”

A statement in objection to the plans from Stowmarket Town Council said: “The town council is of the opinion that the proposed location, being close to Wood Ley Primary, Mid Suffolk Playworld, Chilton Court Residential Care Home and a residential area, is wholly unsuitable for a telecommunications mast. The town council is aware of the significant community interest in this application and respectively requests that the planning authority give due consideration to the views of the local community.”

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They also requested the application is determined by the planning committee and not delegated to the officers.

The planning application has not yet been listed for a decision. In the past week, after a campaign by residents to raise awareness saw leaflets handed out around the local area, more than 50 people have submitted objections.

A petition launched on calls on Shared Access, who want to install the mast to improve Vodafone and O2 4G coverage, to withdraw their plans.

So far 213 people have signed the petition, with the ‘Residents Against 60 ft Mast at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre Stowmarket’ Facebook group standing at 385 members.