Phone mast protestors resume their battle

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Six years after they camped out to successfully fight off plans for a mobile phone mast to be erected on their Melton estate a group of residents have resumed their battle after fresh interest was shown in the site by Vodafone.

The protestors parked a caravan on the proposed location of the mast in their previous campaign and another has now been towed into the same place after workmen from the telecoms giant were spotted examining the power unit installed when planning permission was approved.

Residents say they will fight just as hard the second time around to prevent the phone pole being put up, on the corner of Grange Drive and Sapcote Drive, because they fear it will be a danger to public health.

Vodafone told the Melton Times this week it had not yet decided whether to erect the mast and it was looking at all potential locations in the area.

Lyn Summerland, who was one of the people who camped out last time, is again playing a leading role in the latest resistance campaign.

She said: “We parked a car on the site of the mast earlier in the week and we have now parked a caravan there to stop the workmen getting to it.

“There are now about 15 of us outside protesting. It’s been bitterly cold out there but we are determined to fight this again. We just don’t want it.”

Melton MP Alan Duncan, who joined in on a sit-down protest with campaigners during the previous battle, has this week written to Vodafone to again voice his opposition to the mast plans.

Gary Bush, ward councillor for Melton Council, who has been talking to the protestors, said: “I oppose the fact that they appear to be coming to put the mast up. But Vodafone have planning permission, they have the law of the land in their favour and I can’t encourage people to lay down in the road and get arrested or to break the law.”

Dr Rob Matthews, a senior manager with Vodafone, said: “Our customers expect to be able to access our 3G and 4G services where they live, work and travel.

“We have a requirement to improve both 3G and 4G coverage in the Grange Road area of Melton Mowbray and whilst we recognise that we have permission to erect a mast at the corner of Grange Drive and Sapcote Drive, we are currently reviewing all options in the area before deciding on which is the best option to provide us with the coverage improvement that we seek.”