Battling neighbours set for another mast fight

Frank De Molfetta, front, with residents at the junction of Forest Way and St Vincent's Road in Fulwood
Frank De Molfetta, front, with residents at the junction of Forest Way and St Vincent's Road in Fulwood
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People living next door to a pair of Preston schools are gearing up for their fourth battle against plans to build a huge phone mast.

The residents living close to the junction of St Vincent’s Road and Forest Way, Fulwood, are drawing battle lines again after a company working for mobile phone giants Vodafone and O2 submitted a planning application for the 14.8-metre high mast.

It follows three previous battles against masts in the area, close to Preston College, Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College and Archbishop Temple High School, which has seen campaigners win two fights and lose one.

That successful application saw Orange put up a mast on the nearby Preston College building.

David Jones, who lives on Forest Way, said previous battles had centred on concerns for the health risks of the masts.

He said: “The phone companies argument is that there is no solid evidence to prove masts create these health problems, but if that is the case should they not err on the side of caution?

“My concern is for the generations of children which are attending the two schools and the college there.”

Neighbour Reg Smith said he feared the mast on the footpath opposite the junction would lead to pupils stepping into the road.

He said: “You already see it quite often when the schools are finishing or the students are leaving the college, they do not think about the danger of stepping into the road, they just do it.”

Frank De Molfetta, who represents the area on Lancashire County Council, said the schools had voiced concerns about the planning application submitted to Preston Council last week.

He has fought the previous three battles against masts including one which saw T Mobile turned down for a site on Watling Street Road and Vodafone withdraw an application on Garstang Road last year.

The councillor said: “Orange got a planning application through on appeal in 2006 and ever since there have been a string of them.

“If the residents and I keep fighting these plans when they come in, hopefully the phone companies will get the message.”

Last month, residents learnedthat a company representing O2 and Vodafone had a submitted a plan for a mast on Longsands Lane, Fulwood, the ninth in seven years.

A spokesman for applicant WHP Wilkinson Helsby was unavailable for comment.