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PLANS for a mobile phone mast in Sandhurst have sparked angry protests from residents living nearby.

Objectors believe the application, submitted by Hutchison 3G, to install a 12-metre phone mast at 2A Branksome Hill Road, College Town is both a "health and safety risk" and an "eyesore".

The site is currently used by a car repair business and the neighbouring properties are mostly residential.

One of the protesters from Branksome Hill Road, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: "By the very nature of a car repair yard there are health and safety concerns that include combustible materials such as petrol and oil.

"At the last Sandhurst Town Council meeting in October it was said that the mast would be screened from view by the local trees. However, there are no trees on the south side of the site and it will be visible to some of the residents on the south side of Yorktown Road and Berrybank."

Planning rules state that the phone mast could be sited there without planning permission as it is under 15m in height. But applications must consult residents to give them a chance to object within a limited time.

Julia Birkett, also of Branksome Hill Road, said: "I was one of the few residents who received notification of the application, so I produced my own leaflet to inform other residents in the road.

"I am deeply concerned about the mast as I have a one-year-old son. Whilst there is no real evidence to prove that radiation caused by phone masts is dangerous there is nothing to confirm it isn't.

"If I had known the council would be putting up a mast here I would never have moved in."

Equally unhappy is Nigel Moore of Davis Gardens, who lives directly behind the proposed site.

He said: "We are not happy about seeing the mast from our back garden not to mention the health risks.

"There is plenty of land around here so why can't it be put somewhere out of view?"

Hutchison 3G regional community affairs manager for the South East, Jon Athon Walton, said: "3G takes health and safety very seriously it is a key issue of ours.

"All our base stations are designed to work well within international guidelines adopted by the government.

"Typically our stations operate hundreds to thousands of times below guidelines."

The council has received 15 letters of objection to the application, and Sandhurst Town Council has backed residents and is recommending the application be refused.

Hutchison 3G has also submitted another application for a shared phone mast with Vodaphone in Sandhurst. That site is currently used by Transco, which adjoins South Road approximately 110 metres north of Rackstraw Road.

Sandhurst Town Council is recommending this application be approved.

Bracknell Forest Borough Council is scheduled to make a decision as to whether both masts will be allowed tomorrow (Thursday).


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