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Fears for children’s health sparks protests over Hampstead phone masts application

PUBLISHED: 18:04 04 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:23 06 August 2017

Residents and schools near Henderson Court in Hampstead are objecting to an application to raise two mobile phone masts on the centre's roof. Picture: Els Bauer

Residents and schools near Henderson Court in Hampstead are objecting to an application to raise two mobile phone masts on the centre's roof. Picture: Els Bauer

Els Bauer

Plans to erect two “unsightly” mobile phone masts near four schools have sparked a storm of protest.

Telecoms company Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) and Spanish multinational Telefónica made the application to raise two masts and equipment on the top of Henderson Court in Fitzjohns Avenue, Hampstead, in July.

But members of the community and nearby schools, including Fitzjohns Primary and St Anthony’s School for Boys, have objected to the move over safety fears and the potential threat to the character of Hampstead.

In a letter from Fitzjohns Primary’s governors, headteacher Robert Earrey said extended exposure to electromagnetic fields could harm the school’s autistic children and complained the deadline for objections was when schools had closed for the summer holidays preventing people from having their say.

In an objection posted on the Camden Council website Richard Jones, writing on behalf of St Anthony’s, claimed the antenna and equipment “would be alien and incongruous” failing “to preserve or enhance” the conservation area’s appearance.

Fellow objector Jessica Learmond-Criqui said: “The International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2011 was of the view that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans. That statement has not been retracted.

“Putting a mobile mast next to three primary schools and one secondary is irresponsible and inhuman. Sense must prevail,” she added.

A spokesman for Telefonica, commenting on behalf of both companies, said: “Telefonica customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel.

“Base stations are low powered devices which cover approximately half a mile in radius. Therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers. Telefonica identified that they need to improve the coverage to their customers in this part of Camden and have proposed a base station at Henderson Court. We are now awaiting the Local Planning Authority’s decision,” he added.

A Camden spokesman said the council couldn’t comment before a decision was reached “so as not to impact on the democratic process”.

View the application here

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