Phone mast plans signal health fears for Belsize Park residents

Stop Lawn Road Masts protest,Troyes House residents & neighbours protest against proposed phone mast

Stop Lawn Road Masts protest,Troyes House residents & neighbours protest against proposed phone masts - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Plans to stack phone masts on top of a block of flats in Belsize Park have been making waves with angry residents

Lawn Road campaigners are up in arms over a planning application by telecom giants Vodafone and O2 to throw up six antennas on the roof of the four-storey building.

The ‘Stop Lawn Road Masts’ group fears that radiation from the 1.7 metre-high masts on the top of Troyes House could threaten the health of those living nearby. They claim that children, whose skulls are thinner and brains are still developing, could be vulnerable.

Matthew Dowdeswell, 38, who moved into Troyes House three months ago, said: “It doesn’t matter if the science around radiation is conflicted. If people are day in day out feeling concerned about radiation then that will make them ill.

“I don’t want to be worrying that the radiation is boiling my blood and brains every time I come out of my front door.”

Mr Dowdeswell fears that the masts will damage property prices in the council-owned building, which houses a mixture of council and private flats.

He said: “The perception is that these masts are dangerous and so I’m worried the property will lose value. I would have thought twice about buying it if I had known there would be new mast right above my flat.”

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Residents have launched a written petition to oppose the plans, which has garnered over 100 signatures. The masts would also be out of keeping with the Belsize Park conservation area, the group argues.

Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, 70, has lived next door to Troyes House since 1978. She said: “I will be absolutely in full blast of the phone masts. The radiation will effectively come straight through to my bedroom.

“No one is really sure what effect this might have on the body so we should at least be adopting a precautionary approach.”

Residents have accused Camden Council of mishandling the consultation. They argue that everyone living in the street should have been notified of the plans. Whereas the council has so far written to all properties in Troyes House, as well as in four neighbouring buildings in Lawn Road and Upper Park Road.

A spokesman for Camden Council said: “We have written directly to 49 addresses about this application. We wrote to all properties that share a continuous boundary with Troyes House as set out in our current statement of community involvement.

“We also advertised the consultation in the Ham&High and via the usual site notices on lamp posts.”

A spokesperson for Vodafone and O2 said: “All Vodafone and O2 base stations operate well within guideline safety limits, below these guidelines there is no evidence of adverse health effects for any members of the public.”

Residents can submit comments to the consultation on the planning application until October. 6.