Gillian Al-Khalaf, her husband and their three
young children have been living in the shadow of the monster mast ever since Orange were given permission to build it up against their back garden six years ago.
Mrs Al-Khalaf, whose doctor husband Saad was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, is too afraid to let her children play in the back garden for fear microwave emissions from the mast could damage their health.
Now she says the only answer is for the family to move home against their will.
“Hart Council gave Orange permission for the mast, saying it would not be visible from the road or our house as it would be hidden by the trees in the copse,” said Mrs Al-Khalaf, of Cove Road, Fleet.
“But as it was going up, it was clearly visible. However, when I told the council they said it was tough as the mast had planning permission.”
Mrs Al-Khalaf was horrified when plans were submitted to extend the mast to 92 feet and bring it even nearer to her home.
“Luckily the application was refused in 2000 and at the time, it was agreed that consideration should be given to moving the mast further away from our home,” she said.
“In 2001 when our youngest child was three months old my husband was diagnosed with cancer in his arm, which required him to have a massive shoulder replacement.
“He was off work for more than six months, during which time he had physiotherapy trips to hospital while trying to maintain a normal life for our children.”
Mrs Al-Khalaf said that after reading the Stewart Report on mobile masts, which recommends they should be placed with caution near schools, she called on Hart planning chief Ron Percival to get the mast moved.
“Mr Percival, after many requests, visited our house last December and admitted that visually it had been wrongly placed,” said Mrs Al-Khalaf.
But Mr Percival said there was very little he could do.
“Orange’s present position is that they have no requirement to move the site and would be unable to justify the cost of doing so,” states Mr Percival in a letter to Mrs Al-Khalaf.
Mr Percival said Orange is aware another operator is looking for a mobile mast site in the area and could agree to share a mast and move it away, but it would have to be in an area agreeable to both operators and subject to planning permission.
But Mr Percival admitted: “The council is not in a position to require Orange to do anything.”
Mrs Al-Khalaf said: “We are so fed up that it has now got to the stage where we will have to put the house on the market and move away.
“We don’t want to leave this house — the boys like the garden and my husband doesn’t want to move because it is convenient for him to get to his clinics and visit his patients.
“My husband has been in the district caring for his patients since 1984. I feel that we are all justified in seeking the resiting of this mast, especially my husband, who is well liked and respected.”
Mrs Al-Khalaf added: “Vodafone has told me that a mast was erected on Ministry of Defence land in Minley Road at the beginning of the year.
“I feel that Hart, Vodafone and Orange could surely have found a site that would have suited all of our needs.
“Hart Council is heartless to the needs of the people even when they are aware that the original permission in 1997 was wrong because the mast is visible from the road.”