Phone Mast Site: Pregnant Woman Wins Planning Ruling
A mother-to-be won a High Court victory today in her battle against a
mobile phone mast which she fears could harm her family's health.
A judge ruled that Jodie Phillips, 27, who is expecting her first
baby next January, was denied a fair opportunity to suggest an
alternative site for the 12.5 metres high mast erected close to her
home in Hambleton Road, Waterlooville, Hampshire.
In a ruling which could give heart to other members of the public
objecting to mobile masts, Mr Justice Richards said it was a "sensitive
issue" and public concern about health issues should be taken
into account if there was a choice of sites.
Efforts had to be made to find "the best location".
He overruled a planning inspector's decision to give approval to the
mast, which is also near a nursery school, and said the matter should
planners had already conceded the case and agreed to a hearing.
The case came to court because Hutchison 3G (UK) Ltd, who erected the
"ultra slimline monopole" with equipment cabinet, decided
to argue there was no procedural unfairness.
In November 2002, Havant Borough Council refused planning permission
because of the effect of the mast on "visual amenity and public
perception of danger to health".
appeal before the planning inspector was successful, and the company
went ahead and erected the mast, even though the legality of the move
was still under challenge.
Outside court Jodie, who is particularly worried about the effect the mast's
signal transmissions could have on her baby, welcomed the ruling and
said she was "quite devastated" that the mast was now up
and in operation.
Her husband Nick, 31, said: "Taking a case like this to court
has been nerve-wracking for both of us but it feels so good to see
"We thought the company was incredibly insensitive, especially
when it erected the mast just after the Government had agreed it was illegal".
solicitor Richard Buxton described mobile masts as "a real problem".
He said residents hate them and they are hard to challenge.
"This judgement gives some hopes to residents by making it clear
that companies must look for the best places for their equipment -
not just spots that are most convenient for them for being cheap or
easy to get permission on."