AN ‘eyesore’ and a ‘health hazard’ – or essential for mobile phone users?

Bournemouth residents are fighting a plan for a new mobile phone mast that will be around 200 metres from a school.

They said O2’s plan for the 43 foot high antenna outside the shops on Southbourne’s Broadway is a potential health risk.

Resident Dominic Fabrizi, 43, an engineer, said: “It’s going to be 20 metres from my 10-year-old son’s bedroom. It’s a monstrosity.”

Cllr Basil Ratcliffe, East Southbourne, said: “We’ve been told the residents can’t object on health grounds.

“My main objection is the height – it’s seems excessive.”

Resident John Potter, said: “There’s plenty of room on Hengistbury Head and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t go there.

“It won’t effect my health because I’m 85 - it’s the children going to St Katherine’s that I’m worried about.

“There’s about 40 councils in Scotland that would not allow it and neither would countries like New Zealand and Australia.

“But it’s going to be an eyesore, there’s no doubt that.”

Bournemouth Council confirmed government guidelines to not allow people to object to phone masts on health grounds.

People can only object to the mast’s appearance and impact on the area and they have until February 16 to make their views known. An O2 spokesman said the company was happy to meet residents and discuss health worries.

They said: “We don’t think there’s anything wrong with the appearance.

“We spoke to the council planners and they did not raise any concerns. The reason we need it is that everybody is buying 3G, data hungry phones.

“We have to make sure our customers can stay in contact within the network.”