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Phone mast plans for playground

PUBLISHED: 13:16 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:34 07 September 2010

A PLAYGROUND in West Hampstead could be the site of a new mobile phone mast, residents were furious to discover this week. Telecommunications giant Vodafone has applied to Camden Council to erect the mast in the Iverson Road Open Space wher

Susanna Wilkey

A PLAYGROUND in West Hampstead could be the site of a new mobile phone mast, residents were furious to discover this week.

Telecommunications giant Vodafone has applied to Camden Council to erect the mast in the Iverson Road Open Space where a recently refurbished playground is situated.

Residents are aghast that a playground is even being considered as a suitable location for a phone mast.

Marion Scott, who lives on Rowntree Close just off Iverson Road, said: "Why don't they just send the children to Sellafield?

"It is pathetic. There are lots of young children who go there and young teenagers who play football so it is ridiculous they want to put a phone mast there - bang out of order.

"I am totally against this but they have the money and power behind them. It is appalling that they want to endanger the health of our children and future generations.

"They have no respect for the people around here whatsoever - that is what it boils down to."

Chairman of West Hampstead Small Traders and Residents Association Jitendra Thakorlal said: "There is a playground in the Iverson Road open space and I cannot believe that this would be allowed. This is an area for children and it would be outrageous if they allowed a phone mast to be built here.

"They should not even be considering it with the health risks that are involved. And there are also already two masts in Iverson Road. It definitely should not be anywhere near where children are playing."

Vodafone has put in a planning application to Camden Council to build a 13.2metre high column supporting antennas, two radio equipment cabinets and ancillary equipment.

Alan Johnson, chairman of the Community Association of West Hampstead, said: "I am not in favour of them being erected close to people because there is a definite health issue with microwaves and short-waves.

"My brother is an engineer and he says if you get close to these masts you can actually feel it.

"It is worrying that they want to put one near a playground. The evidence is so unsure on how safe they are so it is better to be safe, especially with children around.

"The masts are also big and ugly things and this is really a very unsuitable place for one."

Fortune Green councillor Flick Rea, who is responsible for parks and open spaces, agrees.

"I do not personally approve of putting a phone mast in a playground," she said. "There are plenty of other places which are more suitable.

"The Iverson Road open space is a playground which has also just been refurbished as part of the council's play pathfinder project. We opposed a mast in Fortune Green and this is an unsuitable site for a phone mast - it would be better somewhere else that is not a playground."

A Camden council spokesman said: "The application will be considered at a later date."

A spokesman for Vodafone said the mast will not be in the playground but next to the new Iverson Road Thameslink station entrance. He said "We currently have a mast on Iverson Road that is currently providing both 2G and 3G coverage to our customers in the area.

"Network Rail plan to redevelop the West Hampstead Thameslink station and this will involve the land where the site is currently located. Network Rail has offered another site, approximately 15metres way, near to the station building, where we can relocate the mast. This will ensure that there is continuity in the coverage to our customers.

"A planning application for the site was submitted in early November following a period of pre-application consultation.


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