Pupils worried as phone firms get right to site mast by school

PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS'Greg Tuite with his sons Daniel (3) and Nathan (7) at home in Moss Side, Leyland
PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS'Greg Tuite with his sons Daniel (3) and Nathan (7) at home in Moss Side, Leyland

Plans for a phone mast just 200 metres from a Leyland school will go ahead, despite a pressure group of almost 200 people against it.

Telecommunications giants 02 and Vodaphone applied for permission to build an 11m high pole on land off School Lane in Moss Side – a short distance away from St James’s C of E Primary School.

They withdrew the plans after objections from highways bosses about the pole causing a hazard for pedestrians – but have since re-applied, moving the pole less than a metre – and won.

The news has sparked furious backlash from residents and parents with children at the school, who campaigned for the plans to be thrown out.

Stephanie Tuit’s son Nathan stood up to make an impassioned plea to councillors to reject the proposals at a planning meeting on Wednesday night.

Mum-of-two Stephanie said: “Nathan did a speech about his worries about phone masts not being safe. He said he was worried about his friends crossing the road and he asked for councillors not to let the big companies decide how we should live.

“I am worried for (my children) now. They have to sleep under it and they have to go to school under it.

“I work hard to look after my children and you think you are doing everything you can to protect them and then you realise some people just ride roughshod over you anyway.”

There is already a phone mast by Orange a few feet from the site, on a grass verge off School Lane. As the pole is less than 15m high, full planning permission was not required from the developers.

A petition of more than 100 signatures, mostly from parents with children at St James’s C of E Primary School, was handed to planning bosses at the council. Residents said that as well as concerns for safety, the mast and adjoining box would create problems with children climbing on it.

At a South Ribble Council planning committee on Wednesday night, members said they didn’t require any further information about the proposals and would delegate it to the head of planning for the final green light.

One person wrote a letter in support of the scheme.

Kevin Chadwick, 73, who lives on Long Moss, will now overlook the mast.

He said: “There was tremendous opposition against the plans and we are all really fed up. We don’t need two masts in a small area.”

Coun Michael Green, who represents Moss Side and is a governor at St James’ C of E Primary School, said: “The overwhelming majority of people in this neighbourhood are against this mast.”

In letters to planners, Vodaphone and O2 said: “A site is required to meet the coverage requirement demanded of O2 and Vodaphone’s customers.”