It seems the City have licensed all their buildings on the Golden Lane Estate for mobile phone masts. On 17 December GVA (a company jointly owned by 02 and Vodaphone) sent a pre-planning consultation letter to some officials with regard to installing a base station with 12 masts on Bowater House. It would appear they intend to go to planning with this early next year. While some are worried about the health implications of this technology and believe it causes cancers, others will be concerned about the economic implications, since it has been estimated that property in buildings with masts erected on or near them are devalued by between 10 and 20 percent. Thus should this go ahead most leaseholders on the Golden Lane Estate are likely to see a decline in the value of their property of between £50,000 and £100,000, and some more. Residents in Barbican blocks such as Breton House and Ben Jonson House would also suffer losses, as will those who’ve bought Denizen flats off-plan.
Making sense of the claims and counterclaims as regards health and mobile phone masts at short notice is not easy. However it would seem the long term effects of mobile phone masts on health is under-researched, and with the switch to new systems such as 5G, different wavelengths are involved about which even less is known in terms of safety. Given this it would seem sensible as a precaution to locate base stations and masts well away from schools and not to site them on top of housing. Bowater House is extremely close to the Golden Lane Campus which houses two schools and a children’s centre, making it unsuitable as a site for the proposed mobile phone base station. Such positioning will also be of concern to parents and staff at CoLPAI, waiting for their school to move into its permanent building not much further from Bowater House than the Golden Lane Campus.
There are many other concerns including the potential need to reroof the Golden Lane Estate in the coming years and the cost and logistic issues of moving heavy equipment when this needs to be done. Residents in Burnhill House in nearby Norman Street say the equipment on their roof for which the lease was not renewed weighed two tons and was at least a contributory factor to subsidence and cracking problems in their block. They also say they were unable to sleep properly for the eight years of the mast lease due to the hum from the electricity transformer on their roof.
Information about 02 and Vodaphone’s plans were not sent to any residents in Bowater House and we assume no other Golden Lane Estate residents were direct recipients. The letter we have seen is addressed to Mark Field MP and suggests he can submit comments of his own or forward those of constituents to:
Community Consultation & EMF Enquiries, Building 1330 – The Exchange, Arlington Business Park, Theale, Berkshire, RG7 4SA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The letter Mark Field was sent came from Rebecca Skerrett. Email: Rebecca.Skerrett@gva.co.uk
You may wish to let those at both these addresses know of any concerns you might have within 14 days of 17 December 2018. You may also want to contact your local councillors and/or MP. Leaseholders will probably want to know if the City plans to compensate them for the devaluation of their homes should this go ahead, and both tenants and leaseholders are likely to want to know if any of the money made from leasing mast sites will be put into the upkeep of estates if they are erected. It would be useful to know exactly how much money the City is getting for this; it seems unlikely to match the losses leaseholders will suffer in terms of the devaluation of their properties and the wear and tear on buildings.
This piece about the devaluation of properties due to mobile phone masts is not from a UK website but takes examples from around the world including the UK: http://www.emfsa.co.za/news/property-values-desirability-cell-towers/
I have written on behalf of GLERA objecting to the proposals. It may be hard to object on health grounds as it is Central Government policy to provide a network but the planning grounds for an objection are strong.
My email is as follows:
Dear Ms Skerrett,
If and when they make a planning application we will then be able to put in a fuller objection.
Thanks for the additions to the discussion. I didn't want to make what I wrote too long but as Tim makes clear the estate is protected as a prized example of modernist architecture and would be ruined by this installation. Likewise I tried to upload the associated documents with my text last night but unfortunately the attempt failed, so I uploaded without them. But it is great they've been added.
From Councillor Vivienne Littlechild - an edited response to the GLE mailing about the plans:
I have written opposing the application for a phone mast on Basterfield House or GLE and copied our MP, Mark Field.
I emailed the following message to Rebecca Skerrett of GVA, copied in to Mark Filed MP:
Dear Ms Skerrett
Just to reiterate, Mark Field is easy to contact. We all need to do this now to make sure he and others know how unhappy we are about the proposed mast installation of the roof of Bowater House. Best way is email or letter. There is also a phone number on his website and he has Twitter and Facebook.
first of all Merry Christmas!
Who at the City should I email about this?
Happy new year,
This hasn't gone to planning yet but will do early in the new year. So for now the best people to email seem to be:
And sympathetic City councillors. The Cripplegate councillors to have expressed concern are:
Mark Bostock: email@example.com
Sue Pearson: Susan.Pearson@cityoflondon.gov.uk
Vivienne Littlechild: firstname.lastname@example.org
One would hope other Cripplegate councillors who'd be sympathetic would include:
Mary Duncan: email@example.com
William Pimlott: William.Pimlott@cityoflondon.gov.uk
Because the information was sent out on on 17 December to too few people to create a 2 week consultation period over the holidays, it may just be the Cripplegate councillors who have yet to express a concern have been away and are as yet unware of the issues.
If you feel like emailing everyone that's great but I'd prioritise Mark Field as the MP for the area and then Sue Pearson as the councillor most immediately involved in this as she lives on the Golden Lane Estate - although there have been problems with the City of London Standards Committee attempting to gag Sue and stop her speaking on on behalf of those who elected her.
Thank you Stewart!
I sent out this email to express my concern today:
Dear Rebecca Skerret,
Two other residents and myself met with journalist from the Islington Tribune to publicise the opposition to this. Expect to see something in an issue soon.