‘No Mast in our Past’ is the slogan of an action group campaigning against proposals to build a 15 metre telecommunications on Framfield Recreation Ground.
Shared Access wants to build a 15 metre monopole mast with antennae for use by Vodaphone and Telefonica with one dish and two ground based equipment cabinets, the whole providing 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services.
More than 60 people attended a meeting on Friday night and were urged to write to Wealden District Council outlining their opposition. They say the ground was gifted to the village in memory of the 32 local soldiers who died in World War I. The base station would be next to specially planted trees and a memorial plaque.
Paul Leader described how villagers were invited to choose a way to remember those who fell in the Great War.They opted to create a recreation ground as a quiet space. Now they are upset that the Parish Council supports the scheme.
A Parish Council statement reports that Shared Access wants to site the mast at the rear of the ground. It says:“This will enhance mobile telephone coverage in nearby villages and not affect the activities of the recreation ground or the hall.” The company will pay £40,000 to the council once the lease is finalised.
Local people say the application flies in the face of the original purpose of the ground. Sam Weddell explained:
“We are not against the principle of improving mobile phone reception and we understand the impact on some businesses and those working from home. We are, however, strongly against its siting on the recreation ground.
The land is a memorial ground in memory of those who fought in WWI. A mast is an unacceptable visual impact to the historic village asset and setting and the rural character of the land will change forever.
There are also potential health worries, especially sited 150 metres from the primary and pre-schools, 20 metres from the play park and sports facilities. It’s also too close to homes.”
Mrs Vera Joslin points out the ground ‘was given by Mr and Mrs G T Easton of Thurston Hall for the benefit of all parishioners as a memorial to the fallen and a thank-offering to those who returned from service.’ For that reason she argues, it isn’t just the trees that are a memorial, but the ground is a memorial in its own right.
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