Orpington phone mast gets bad reception
Residents have started a petition against an application to move a mobile phone mast from the roof of a fire station to near their homes.
Those living in and around the junction with Spur Road and Court Road, in Orpington, claim the 12.5-metre pylon will be unsightly and could pose health risks.
They are collecting signatures against the application to relocate the O2 and Vodafone mast from the roof of Orpington fire station, which has been submitted on behalf of the companies by telecoms organisation Waldon.
Resident and campaigner Steve Coster, 62, said: “We are not happy about the fact they seem to be dumping this on our streets. It is higher than a lamppost and it seems a very odd place to put it.
“There are also health and safety concerns. We hope to get some support- this is the community in action.”
Orpington fire station is due to be demolished and rebuilt under a £57.4million PFI deal which will see nine stations in the capital redesigned. It had been thought the scheme, first agreed under Labour, may be scrapped because of the cuts but the Government gave its seal of approval in January.
This, campaigners say, lends more urgency to their appeal. Mr Coster added: “We thought it would be able to stay on top of Orpington fire station but it seems we will have to move quickly now.”
The retired BT manager and another resident Alan Smith visited Orpington MP Jo Johnson on Friday to make him aware of their concerns.
Mr Coster said: “When I explained the situation to Mr Johnson he said: ‘Why can’t they put the mast back on the fire station?’ So he saw our point straightaway. He would make some enquiries about it with the London Fire Brigade.”
O2 and Vodafone communications manager James Stevenson said: “We have conducted many studies into the effects of mobile phones and masts and none of them have come up with any health and safety issues. The reason we are making the network better is for the benefit of residents so they can keep in contact with each other.”
The final day for submissions to Bromley council about the application is Thursday. A council decision is expected at the end of the month.