Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

School has concerns over mast

By Michael Bashford

Published 27/01/2010

The mast will overlook St Mary's schoolyard, according to Stephen Rafferty
The mast will overlook St Mary's schoolyard, according to Stephen Rafferty

A Comber primary school has hit out at the Planning Service for failing to consult them on plans for the erection of a 30ft communications mast at the nearby PSNI station.

Stephen Rafferty, principal at St Mary's Primary School, said he and no-one at the school was consulted on the plans despite it being situated yards from the proposed site.

“Whatever the scientific facts regarding health and safety, the perception of danger from this type of tower could result in serious consequences for our school,” he said.

“I do hope the Planning Service will look sympathetically at our situation and base their ultimate decision accordingly.”

The mast, which will overlook the Church of the Visitation (St Mary’s Church) and a number of residential homes on the Killinchy Road, as well as St Mary's, will “provide essential communications for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, the Ambulance Service, HM Coastguard and the PSNI and is due to be erected in the coming months providing planning permission is approved”, according to the PSNI.

Alderman Jim Shannon said local people are worried about any health concerns that may result from such a mast being erected.

“St Mary’s Primary School has some 60 pupils and numbers have risen sharply recently as it is very much a cross-community school,” he said.

“All of us are understandably worried that there could be scientific evidence that shows that there could be a detrimental danger to the pupils.”

A statement from Planning Service said: “Planning Service will notify occupiers of buildings on sites which adjoin the boundary of an application site, and those which would adjoin the boundary but for an entry or a road less than 20 metres wide.

“In this particular case both St Mary's Primary School and St Mary's Church did not qualify for the above and therefore were not neighbour notified.”

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said the mast was a “Planning Service matter”.

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