BT Cellnet Limited
1 Brunel Way
I wish to voice my great concern about the recent Prior Approval BT Cellnet has been granted for a 10 metre Monopole and equipment cabinets at 642-644 Antrim Road, Belfast.
This site is within 150 metres of the gates of two local primary schools (and indeed much closer to the school grounds) – it is also close to a nursing home. There is acknowledged risk for vulnerable groups such as babies and children whose cells are still dividing and also the sick and elderly whose immune systems are depressed. BT claims a “commitment to the community” and to the “spirit of the Stewart recommendations” – these plans show no evidence of this.
The Stewart Report recommends a precautionary approach in the siting of masts – especially in relation to schools – in fact many authorities have banned this equipment from close proximity to schools. Yet BT Cellnet intends to erect equipment close to Ben Madigan Preparatory School and Our Lady of Lourdes Park Lodge – and in the heart of a densely populated residential area.
In order to keep exposure levels as low as possible, planning guidance says masts should be mounted as high as possible – this monopole is on the footpath in front of a busy commercial area. I do not believe this mast would be approved if it were subject to the full planning process – I believe the fact BT Cellnet submitted its plans under the soon to be revoked Prior Approval Procedure shows a disregard for local sensitivities and indeed for the planning system.
The Government says that school governors must be consulted on proposals for all new masts on or near a school – yet neither of these two schools were aware of BT Cellnet plans until after these had been approved. The owner of 642-644 Antrim Road was not aware of the proposal and neither were the owner/occupiers of the neighbouring premises and residences – it is ironic that a ‘communication company’ seems unable to communicate with interested parties!
I resent the fact that BT Cellnet used Prior Approval in the full knowledge that the local community has objected to five attempts since February to erect its masts less than one mile from this site. I also resent that the notice for this application was published at the start of the Halloween holiday when many families were away and could not have seen it – I resent that BT Cellnet received a Notice of Approval dated 1st November when the published closing date for receipt of objections was in fact 9th November. BT Cellnet should do the honourable thing and withdraw from this planning decision.
At this time of year, our primary schools and families should be preparing and looking forward to Christmas – not preparing to mount a major campaign against a BT Cellnet Mast. I object strongly to these plans and to BT Cellnet’s conduct in this matter - I ask BT Cellnet to review its position and demonstrate a commitment to the community.
Please consider these comments.