Bognor Regis: Bognor against TETRA, with Felpham
We are concerned about the health risks, the costs, and the capacity of TETRA to provide effective police communications.
Bognor Regis had a TETRA mast on top of the Reynolds Depository Building on the corner of Station Road and Canada Grove. It was installed and switched on in November 2003. No planning permission was applied for, since it was apparently just an upgrade to the existing equipment. Local resident Ms Mandee Keeling telephoned Mr Dominic Reynolds, managing director, to inform him that they would be protesting against this new mast installation. He delighted the people of Bognor by telling them:
It took me only a short time to decide to request the removal of the mast. I have sent an email to Airwave requesting the company to take down the mast. I dont want to be involved in anything, or be a part of something, which affect peoples health and well-being.
However, repeated attempts from Mr Reynolds fell on deaf ears at O2 Airwave. They did not return his calls, or if they did, it was the wrong department etc. For the events leading to today, see the News page, but the mast still stands.
This mast had a high output. It had to, to reach to its nearest neighbour masts. Consequently, people as far away as Slindon have felt its effects.
Sadly, whilst the local campaign managed to get the antennae switched off, the Reynolds Building has been found to house the master switch station for the whole district all without the consent of the landlord. Just recently new equipmnent has been installed against his wishes, to link up with the newly converted BT Cellnet mast at Felpham Golf Course.
John OBrien of Protect Sussex from TETRA has said:
Mr Reynolds has put the welfare of the people of Bognor Regis ahead of the commercial need of his company. He is to be applauded.
Ever since, Mr Reynolds did his best to get the mast taken down (see letters), and felt that he needed more support in his plight. Mandee Keeling joined the Bognor Regis Civic society and with Paul Wells, Arun District Councillor, formed Bognor Against TETRA. They need people to join with them, and you can do that through this website and through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bognor Against TETRA managed to get on the front page of Bognor Observer, to publicise the March 23rd meeting and to get awareness on the move. Subsequent coverage included a double-page spread on the issue.
Mandee Keeling wrote to Mr Juan Baeza, Head of Enforcement of Planning for Bognor. He did not even know where the mast was, although they did know that there was one in Bognor. O2 Airwave have ignored Arun District Councils repeated attempts to find out where the mast was situated. Having informed them of where it was, Mandee asked him as many questions as she could. On account of this, Mr Baeza visited the site on 11th March for a close range inspection of the mast, and reported his findings to the group.
Alongside all the continuing local action, public meetings and an information day in the town, legal action was pursued for the removal of the equipment. Three times O2 Airwave stated unequivocally that the antennae had been switched off. Why did they lie to the landowner and to local Councillors? Each time the equipment was tested and was still transmitting. So why did they finally allow witnesses for the final switch off? How could they say they were switching it off if they already had done so three times before?!
26 May 2004. The end of the Reynolds mast? Time for celebration! We wonder what reasons O2 Airwave will now give for allowing the Bognor campaign to succeed. They will probably say some technical reason, or the goodness of their hearts. Thank goodness that for now the misery and suffering of living with TETRA will stop. BUT... the trouble has started in just the same way now in the Downsview area at Felpham Golf Course. (See News)
TETRA on Reynolds Building, Bognor Regis. O2 Airwave refused to co-operate in its removal, lied about switching it off and continued to use the site as the distrct switch.