Protesters out in Telford over mast extension plans
As Vodafone and O2 gear up to improve mobile phone signals across Shropshire, residents in Telford stepped out to oppose plans to extend a telecommunications mast near their homes.
Two thousand people have signed the Shropshire Star's Get Us Connected petition calling for EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 to improve their service in rural areas.
In June, Vodafone and O2 announced plans to upgrade more than 70 mobile phone base station sites to improve services and roll out 4G across the county.
As part of the plans, councillors at Telford &Wrekin Council will meet tomorrow to decide whether to allow a 14.8 metre mast with a 21 metre mast in Old Park Way, Telford.
However, some residents united at the existing mast with signs saying "O2 listen to us – we don't want your mast" and "O2 why is our health not a priority?".
Paul Edwards, chairman of Old Park Residents' Association, said their group objected to the nearby O2 mast when it was built several years ago and again when it was extended from 12 to 14.8 metres.
Mr Edwards said: "This was a peaceful attempt to show the mobile phone companies how against their proposal we are and at the same time we gathered a very large amount of signed petitions, some from people walking through the area and some collected from nearby houses that we'd mail dropped previously. I live 100 metres away from this mast and as far as we are concerned the health risks haven't been proven.
"I would like to err on the side of caution and it would make sense to put these masts away from residential homes.
"It's been placed where it is as it is close to the motorway, Old Park and the Rock estate and we have complained at every juncture with the building and extensions of the mast. My O2 signal is perfect and I'm sure if it was placed on the other side of the estate, away from the homes, the signal would be just as good.
"We want to preserve the area."
So far, plans have been submitted by Vodafone and O2 to build an 18 metre and another 22.5 metre phone mast in Telford.
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