Mast protest gathers speed

Anne Elsdon, front-left, with protestors in Dore who are unhappy at the proposals of a phone mast which will tower higher than a large tree (pictured) on Causeway Head Road
Anne Elsdon, front-left, with protestors in Dore who are unhappy at the proposals of a phone mast which will tower higher than a large tree (pictured) on Causeway Head Road

RESIDENTS in Dore have submitted a big petition to try to halt plans for a telecommunications mast in the centre of the village and conservation area.

The protest has attracted 581 names as part of a campaign to press the council to reject the application for a 15-metre structure and other equipment in Causeway Head Road.

Objectors say the mast would be “unsightly and inappropriate in such a prominent area” and would be “extremely close to homes and schools”.

The Dore application is from O2 and Vodafone, who want to share locations across Sheffield as they aim to provide coverage for a new generation of iPhones, BlackBerries and other smart phones.

Of 38 applications submitted in the last 12 months, 22 have been approved, nine refused and seven have yet to be decided. Orange, T Mobile and 3 have submitted a handful of further requests.

The council can reject schemes if it believes the impact on the environment is unacceptable. Concerns are often expressed about possible health implications but its hands are tied by Government national guidelines.

Residents in Millhouses are mounting a campaign against a proposed 14.8-metre installation at the corner of Button Hill and Millhouses Lane. The Dore protest has seen objections lodged by Dore Village Society and more than 40 residents.

A householder in Newfield Crescent says: “I am sure that there are more suitable sites outside the village where a pole could be constructed which would not be such an eyesore.”

She also raises a possible health issue: “It has not been disproved that there are certain dangers involved with living in such close proximity to a phone mast.”

Another resident asks: “Surely giving the go-ahead to a mast in the village would make a mockery of the idea of the conservation area and would pave the way for other companies to erect masts in the village and the surrounding green belt and countryside without restraint.”

Local councillor Keith Hill says: “Clearly phone masts are needed but the location must be sensitive. This is not.”

A Vodafone spokeswoman said: “We have identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Sheffield and have proposed a several shared base stations in various location in the city. Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel.

“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.

“Base stations are low powered which only cover approximately half a mile in radius and therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.”