Local people in Longbridge have today sent out a strong message that they are wholeheartedly opposed to the erection of a mobile phone mast outside Longbridge Methodist Church in Bristol Road South.

Planning for permission for the Vodafone mast was granted by Birmingham City Council, in spite of a petition signed by 252 people.

The mast is set to be installed right outside the church. The church hosts not only church activities but also Jelly Babies Pre-school and Nursery and several community groups for all ages, including the Challenge Stroke Club.

Parents, children, staff, service users, church officials and local people joined Councillor Andy Cartwright this morning to make their opposition to the Longbridge mast known. Cllr Cartwright and his colleague Cllr Cruise had previously presented a petition to Birmingham City Council opposing the mast believing that, while mobile phone masts are a necessity, this particular site would be inappropriate.

Cllr Cartwright said he opposed to the mast as it is outside a church used by all age groups and also expressed concerns that the erection of a mast so close to the redevelopment of Longbridge could affect the local economy: “This mast is not going to entice people to come and live and spend their money in this area.”

He added: “…there’s a lot of people here [today], young and old, and they’ve got voices … Birmingham City Council should listen to them. There’s loads of places this phone mast could be, but not outside a church, no way.”

Listen to the full interview with Cllr Cartwright:

Reverend Mary Shannahan was concerned that, even if reassurances could be given regarding safety, people would still be less inclined to use the church and other local services if they had doubts. She said that hundreds of people use the church, including young children and that: “We’re just concerned about the impact the mast will have, not just on them … but on the local area as well. We can get all the assurances … but as soon as people see that they’re going to think, ‘… We’re not going to go anywhere near there’.”

Local people who signed the petition are disappointed that their views have not been taken into account. Rev Shannahan said: “We want to have the assurance that … when people have actually put their names to a petition, their voices are actually going to be heard, it’s not just going to be … these big corporations trampling on the voices of many people who’ve signed this petition.”

She added: “We just want to make sure that people are safe and this is not going to be a blot on the landscape here in Longbridge.”

Listen to the full interview with Rev Shannahan:

Local shopkeeper Manjit, from Paul’s Wines and Convenience Stores, expressed worries about how the mast may affect health and electrical equipment. She said: “… I don’t think it’s a suitable place to have it here … There’s plenty of other places [where] it can be done … It’s not very convenient.”

Listen to the full interview with Manjit:

At the same time as the council approved this mast, four other mast planning applications were turned down. One of these was a proposed mast in Bournville ward where councillors led a campaign against the application, on the grounds that it would not be in keeping with the look of the area.

Bournville Cllr Nigel Dawkins said: “We have campaigned against every single planning application that seeks to install a mobile phone mast in Bournville because we believe 40 feet high phone masts are ugly, inappropriate structures that should not be located in residential areas”

Cllr Cartwright said that there is no system in place for opposers to appeal against the planning decision once it has been made. the course of action now for those opposing the mast is to appeal to Vodafone directly in the hope that they may decide to locate an alternative site.

UPDATED 16th March 2012:
A spokesperson for Cornerstone, a team of Vodafone UK & telefonica employees responsible for facilitating their shared UK infrastructure, said: “Vodafone and O2 have decided that we will share network assets wherever we can which will reduce the overall number of new base station locations for both parties, reduce deployment costs and follow the guidance set out in planning legislation.  Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel, without mobile phone base stations located in these areas this would not be possible.”

“We have both identified that we have a requirement to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Longbridge and have proposed a new shared base station on the footway adjacent to Bristol Road.” she added.

You can submit your objections in writing to:

Cornerstone Team
Vodafone Limited
Vodafone House,
The Connection,
Newbury,
Berkshire
RG14 2FN

And their agents:
Sinclair Dalby Limited
The Forum,
277 London Road,
Burgess Hill,
West Sussex
RH15 9QU

Or take a few seconds to fill in your details below to send our pre-composed email directly to Cornerstone. (If you’d prefer to email them in your own words, the email address is emf.enquiries@cornerstonemobile.net )

Please note: The above contact email was altered on 16th March 2012. If you had previously emailed the customer services email address we provided, please resend the email to the above address, where it will be read by members of the appropriate department. Sorry for the confusion!

[emailpetition id=”4″]

1 COMMENT

  1. What can i say im gutted for the users of Longbridge Mothodist church and the residents in the local area surrounding the church.
    I feel Birmingham city council have again not took the views of local people into account.
    No way should this phone mast be put outside a place of worship it is totally a lack of respect for all concerned.
    Longbridge is a large ward and this phone mast could of been put in a much suitable site.
    I am calling on the people of Longbride to write to the address below and put over your views.
    Myself and Cllr Ian cruise have written and put over our our concerns on this matter.
    We are not against mobile masts but we are against where they are putand this is the issue we are fighting for as residents we have that right.
    Councillor Andy Cartwright

    Vodafone limited
    vodaphone house
    The connection
    Newbury,Berkshire,
    RG14 2FN

    This is also the agent

    Sinclair dalby ltd
    The forum, 277 London road,
    Burgess hill, west sussex
    RH159QU
    What the hell do these people know about Lonbridge and its residents.

  2. as a young person who lives in longbridge and also as a christian having a phone mast outside of a church is terrible. I do belive in phone mast but not in front of a church. Birmingham city council are not listening to what people say we all have a voices not just one council we all have a choice so why is this different? we are all a community not just one person we all matter! so speak out loud and put your choices forward!!!Scarlet Cartwright age 11

  3. Wrong to use inocent kids in the ‘battle’ when they know not what it’s about.

    A few people complain about a little mast, the same people who complain when they can’t get a mobile signal.

    Right NIMBYs!

  4. As a young person i have a voice and i have feelings im not against mobile phone masts but i do think that putting it outside a church a place of worship is wrong.
    And this is not a battle its our right and i know all about my rights…..thank you
    scarlet cartwright……

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