Fears over mobile phone mast on Norwich pub

Plans for a mobile phone mast on a Norwich pub have met opposition from locals who fear possible health risks, dislike its size and claim it's not needed.

02/Vodafone has applied to Norwich City Council to instal three 3G antennas on the Lord Rosebery pub in Rosebery Road, north Norwich.

But dozens of people living nearby have written to the council to object to the plans, and are being supported by Sewell city councillor Julie Brociek-Coulton.

Residents are upset about the design of the mast which they said would jar with the Victorian-era pub and say that mobile phone coverage in the area is excellent, so it is not needed.

People are also concerned about possible health risks, as the pub is close to schools and is in a densely populated area, although no evidence has linked mobile phone masts with health risks.

However, Dave Turnbull, who owns the Lord Rosebery pub, said the height of the building and the fact the mast would be stuck on one of the chimneys, meant no-one would be able to see it.

He also said that with pubs struggling to survive in the recession, any extra income for allowing masts to be installed, could help the pub stay open.

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Neighbours however have inundated the council with their concerns, with one resident, who did not wish to be named, objecting about the size of the mast, and its location on a Victorian building of some architectural merit.

She said: 'It would have a negative visual impact on the surrounding area in view of elevated position of mast and building, at the top of a hill.'

Another neighbour said it would be an unsightly addition to the area and suggested there was already adequate mobile phone coverage in the area.

She added: 'So it seems unnecessary to put up a mast, potentially making houses in the area less desirable, due to the unknown health risks and the scaremongering associated with these risks.'

However, one resident, who said she was neutral about the proposals, said that, while objections based on unsightliness had some merit, the World Health Organisation's current guidance notes says there's no evidence of any adverse health risks associated with masts.

In February it emerged that Norwich could see more masts spring up as companies try to meet the demand of mobile phone usage and the increasing use of smart phones.

A Vodafone/02 spokesman said: 'Vodafone and O2 have both identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Norwich, so that they are able access high speed mobile broadband services that will allow them to use a wide range of services offered by smartphones and tablets.

'We recognise that some communities are concerned regarding the deployment of radio base stations close to residential areas but without radio base stations, mobile phones will not be able to work.'

Are you fighting a planning application where you live? Call David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.