Parents concerned phone mast near Dagenham school could get bigger

The phone mast is just yards from Valence Primary School, inset, in St Georges Road, Dagenham

The phone mast is just yards from Valence Primary School, inset, in St Georges Road, Dagenham - Credit: Archant

Parents say they are worried about their children’s health after plans to increase the height of a mobile telephone mast just yards from a schoolgate were handed to the council.

Proposals to knock down the 12.5m high mast outside Valence Primary School to make way for a new 15m structure were submitted to the council earlier this month.

The current mast, which is jointly owned by Vodafone and Telefónica UK, was installed in July at the corner of St Georges Road and Beverley Road in Dagenham and replaced a smaller structure which residents petitioned against a few years ago.

Carer Mersey Tabinywa, 40, of Valence Avenue, has two children who attend the school and believes the structure should not be near it in the first place.

“It could cause damage with radiation and waves and things,” she said. “It’s inappropriate and not the right place for it.

“It needs to be moved somewhere else where there are no kids – some of them lean on it while they’re waiting for their parents.”

Letters were sent out to the headteachers and governors of Valence Primary and nearby St Joseph’s Primary at the start of December but no issues were raised before a formal application was sent to the council on January 12.

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Retired electrician Del Whinney, lives opposite the school in St Georges Road, and believes the disruption to motorists will be the biggest issue.

“It looks all right as it is to me, I don’t know why they want it to be any bigger,” the 73-year-old said. “It’s there now, just leave it.

“It was a nightmare when they put it up, they cut the road off completely – it was chaos. We don’t want that again.”

But care support worker Christine Famuyiwa, 40, of nearby Page Close, isn’t worried.

“There are waves everywhere and children aren’t in school 24 hours a day – they spend more time at home than at school,” she said.

“If the authorities have done a good job and researched any dangers I’m sure it will be fine.”

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: “This is part of our ongoing programme to improve services for customers locally.”