Bournville residents protest at plans for mobile phone mast
Bournville residents turned out to voice their anger over plans to put up a 45ft mobile phone mast next to playing fields.
Protesters said the proposed site on the corner of Heath Road and Selly Oak Road, in Bournville, was too near parkland at Rowheath, homes and schools.
Coun Nigel Dawkins (Con, Bournville) said: “It clearly demonstrated that families are worried about having such a high mobile phone mast next to where they live.
“These genuine fears and concerns by so many people cannot and should not be dismissed by the planners.”
The councillor said the location was too indiscreet for the conservation area.
He posted a thousand letters to people living near the site urging them to oppose the planning application. Hundreds had so far replied, he claimed.
“This would be on a main thoroughfare in a residential area in full view,” he added.
Health fears about the mast were also a concern for families with six schools in the surrounding area, and Coun Dawkins added. “We recognise this is a difficult issue for phone companies because we all want coverage but they need to be discreet and placed away from residential areas.”
MP Steve McCabe (Lab, Selly Oak) also joined the demonstration. He said: “Residents and politicians from all parties oppose this mast site due to its proximity to St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School; a fact we have fed back to the council during the consultation.”
But Dr Rob Matthews, of Vodafone, said the company was working with O2 and had chosen the spot from four alternatives because there was a backdrop of trees and lampposts.
Dr Matthews said all base stations worked in accordance with strict international guidelines and typical exposures fell “many hundreds, if not thousands, of times below” safety limits.
He added: “We recognise some communities are concerned regarding radio base stations close to residential areas but without radio base stations, mobile phones will not be able to work.”