I am writing to you as the County and Borough Councillor for Rushmere Ward, in support of local opposition to the proposed Vodafone/Telefonica installation of an 11.8m telecommunications pole with antennas, equipment cabinet and ancillary work.
I represented local people’s views at two Planning Committees, and on both occasions the application was refused:
“The proposed development, by reason of its design, height and position in the street scene within a predominantly residential area, would undermine the residential amenities of the occupants of nearby dwellings and produce a feature of unwelcome prominence in the street scene. These proposals would be detrimental to the overall character and appearance of the area, and would be contrary to policies BE1, BE2, BE18 and INF2 of the Ipswich Local Plan 1997.”
I wish to bring to your attention the following points:
1. The proposed mast abuts the playing field to Rushmere Hall Primary School, yet the appellant makes no mention of this in their Grounds of Appeal (see item 5, which only refers to the proximity to residential dwellings);
2. This is an expanding school, with the likely addition of 200 pupils in the near future, subject to governors’ agreement to specific criteria in relation to buildings and road safety. Expansion would make it one of the two largest primary schools in Suffolk;
3. The mast would impact on the proposed new secondary entrance to the school, affecting visibility. A child was recently knocked over leaving school and this is a major concern to local people;
4. Over 500 local residents signed a petition against this proposal and I have met with the Head Teacher and Chair of Governors to hear their concerns, and the concerns of their parents and staff;
5. The government is keen to support local communities in playing an active role in the planning decision-making process; the petition is evidence of the extent of local feeling;
6. I would like to draw your attention to a previous Appeal Decision (APP/R3525/A/08/2089241 attached) for a similar proposal in Colchester Road, Ipswich and within a short distance of another primary school – Sidegate Lane Primary, currently the largest primary in Suffolk – although by no means so close as this current appeal which, I repeat, directly abuts Rushmere Hall Primary’s school playing field. In dismissing the appeal, the Inspector specifically noted ‘the impact on nearby residential properties which are mainly two storey….’ and ‘I do not consider that the mast has been sited and deisgned to minimise its visual impact, and as such its siting and appearance would materially harm the character and appearance of the area.’
7. Although health issues in relation to these installations are still being debated, I asked a local surgeon to research the latest evidence (report attached). He concludes that it was not until 2011 that an important WHO committee reviewed all available evidence and their subsequent report suggests a most definite risk. He emphatically states that the potential impact on children who may be more susceptible to radio wave effects MUST preclude the siting of masts adjacent to schools.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet you on site to discuss all of these issues.
Cllr. Judy Terry
County and Borough Councillor for Rushmere Ward