DISGRUNTLED residents today slammed ‘shocking’ plans to place a mobile phone mast next to a tennis club.
Mobile operators O2 and Vodafone have made inquiries to Wyre Council about installing a 15m high mast in the grounds of Moorland Tennis Club in Poulton.
But residents have labelled the site choice as ‘disgraceful’ as it is only a few yards from the Breck Road tennis courts used by primary school pupils.
And to add insult to injury public planning documents show Wyre Council refused to allow installation of the mast in two alternative sites on the Civic Centre roof and car park.
The report states the locations were discounted due to the site owner not wanting a telecommunications installation on their property that borders the Poulton-le-Fylde Conservation Area.
Phillip Massey, of Farriers Way, Poulton, said he was ‘shocked’ when he was told of the plans.
He said: “Residents are furious really, the site is in such close proximity to residences and next to tennis courts which are used daily by children. We are told there is no proof of health risks but I have my doubts.
“As residents we feel railroaded into this. Unlike the council which has refused to house the mast on their land, we have no say on the matter.”
Although a government report published in 2000 failed to find any health risks with mobile phone mast radiation it recommended a ‘precautionary approach to siting in the view of the potential adverse health effect, particularly for children under 11’.
But concerned resident David Firth said the mast was not only a health hazard but a visual intrusion.
He said: “There is no structure anywhere near that height in this area, the floodlights at the tennis club are 7m high and the trees 8m. I realise the tennis club will make money from this but we will lose out and surely there are other locations more suitable if we really need another mast.”
Club president Robert Wiseman said: “We have agreed to the installation in principle but we are waiting for the approval from all our members. We would never agree to anything we believed would put those members at risk.”
Mobile phone mast legislation means applications may be approved by officers without being formally assessed by a council planning committee.
A spokesman for the phone companies said: “We have identified we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Poulton and have proposed a shared base station on Breck Road.
“We recognise 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. All of our base stations are designed, built and operated in accordance with stringent international guidelines.”