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Further phone masts planned for Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:29 15 July 2011

Plans for two new mobile phone masts over 45ft high in Norwich have been submitted - and a further application for one over 55ft is expected soon.

The applications from Vodafone and O2 are the latest in a series sent to the city council this year as they look to improve their services in Norwich.

To date, the council has already dealt with at least nine other applications for masts in 2011 – with at least two approved, six refused and one withdrawn – while further bids were made for antennae to be installed.

The latest two to be considered are applications for a 15m high mast and cabinets near St Anne’s Church and Earlham Library in Colman Road and a 14.8m high tower with cabinets by the shops at Earlham West Centre, Norwich.

Bert Bremner, right, Labour Norwich City Council councillor for the university ward, said that there have been at least 13 applications in this area turned down since 2003 and is urging the local community to have their say again.

He said: “We feel that mobile phones are incredibly useful and we certainly use them. If we thought that they were dangerous and the transmissions from the masts were dangerous then we would stop using mobile phones.

“What we object to is the way the masts and cupboards look and where the phone companies want to put them.”

An application is also expected to be submitted shortly for a 17.5m tower with cabinets off Maida Vale, in Norwich, near Portersfield Road and Avenue Road. This follows the decision of St Peter’s Church, in Park Lane, to withdraw from being involved in a similar potential application in December, following a significant amount of public opposition.

Claire Stephenson, leader of the Norwich City Council Green Party, is currently canvassing public opinion in the area to try to encourage the public to have their say. “It is a difficult situation because a lot of people don’t want masts to be near to their houses because of health risks,” she said. “At the same time lots of people want to use 3G phones.”

She added that the party were supportive of O2 and Vodafone working together to share masts rather than have twice the amount.

The rise in applications has been put down to the growing demand for smart phone usage.

Ilana Clark, member of the Cornerstone Team and employee of Vodafone UK, said: “Vodafone and O2 have decided that we will share network assets wherever we can, which will reduce the overall number of new base station locations for both parties, reduce deployment costs and follow the guidance set out in planning legislation.”

She added: “We have identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Norwich and have proposed a several shared base stations in various location in the city.”

An application has also been submitted to replace a flagpole at St Andrews Church, with a false flagpole incorporating three Vodafone antennas and four O2 antennas.

Are you fighting a planning application where you live? Call reporter Richard Wood on 01603 772434 or email richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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