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Belsize Park campaigners celebrate as phone mast bid fails

PUBLISHED: 14:37 03 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:17 03 November 2016

Troyes House residents and neighbours are jubilant about the decision to block the phone masts

Troyes House residents and neighbours are jubilant about the decision to block the phone masts

Archant

Planners threw out an application to stack six phone masts on the roof of a block of flats on Lawn Road

Telecom giants Vodafone and O2 wanted to throw up six masts on top of the four-storey Troyes House in Belsize Park, but their application was thrown out on Monday.

The antennas would “harm the visual appearance and character” of the area due to their “excessive scale and bulk and unsympathetic functional design,” officers said on Monday.

As The Ham&High reported, the ‘Stop Lawn Road Masts’ group launched a campaign in September to oppose the plans. Their petition garnered over 400 signatures and they lodged 93 complaints on the planning website.

Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, 70, has lived next door to the four-storey Troyes House, which hass a mixture of council and private flats, since 1978. She said everyone was “absolutely delighted”.

“Over the last two months we have spent hours and hours campaigning. Lawn Road is very historic and the masts would have been completely out of keeping with the Belsize Park area” she said.

She added: “I would be absolutely in full blast of the phone masts. The radiation would effectively have 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.”

Although the application was thrown out due to the mast’s visual impact, many residents were concerned about radiation from the 1.7 metre-high structures.

They said it would damage property prices and endanger their health.

Matthew Dowdeswell, 38, who moved into council-owned building four months ago, 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.

“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.”

In response to the decision, a Vodafone and Telefonica spokesperson said masts need to be put close to customers as their coverage extends to just half a mile in radius.

She said: “We have identified that we need to improve the coverage to our customers in Camden and applied for a base station at Troyes House, Lawn Road.

“We were disappointed that the local planning authority refused the application and are considering our options in the local area.”


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