ISSUE: Phone Masts

Councillors block Putney phone masts at Richmond Court

Councillors have put on hold a bid by mobile phone giants Orange to erect telecommunications equipment on the roof of a Putney apartment block.

The company was seeking planning permission to site six masts and four dishes at Richmond Court on the Upper Richmond Road.

Planning chairman Ravi Govindia said there was growing public concern at the potential health risk from such installations:

"Despite all the worries people have about the health implications local planning committees are not allowed to take these into account when considering applications. We are told by the Government that provided the installation meets the appropriate European guidelines we must ignore the health aspects."

He said councillors were being put in an impossible position and that local people were unable to have their legitimately expressed concerns taken on board.

"The public perception is that ministers have been making it too easy for the mobile phone giants. Often they can sidestep the need to even obtain planning permission - simply by reducing the height of the installation. "

The planning committee voted to defer the application to allow time for more consultation.

Leaseholders in the block are now expected to use the time to find ways of persuading their landlords to withdraw their consent for the equipment.

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