Phone mast plans for Ripon Grammar School

Property company Shared Access will preparetheplanning application for the project.
Property company Shared Access will preparetheplanning application for the project.

Ripon Grammar School has written to parents about proposals for a mobile phone mast to be placed in the grounds.

If the plans are approved by Harrogate Borough Council, the 17.5m structure could be installed near the school’s observatory.

Property company Shared Access will prepare the planning application for the project.

In a letter issued to parents, headteacher Martin Pearman said: “This would be a structure which is designed to provide improved network coverage for the local community and for Vodafone and O2 customers.

“The structure would be located well away from any school buildings, including residential settings such as Johnson House, and the proposed location, at the moment, is near to the observatory.

"It would be 17.5 m to the top, this being the minimum height possible to achieve the required radio coverage, and would be on school land.

"Shared Access specialise in developing telecommunications infrastructure. The company operates in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where they have built, acquired, own and manage approximately 500 sites.

“Shared Access have undertaken a consultation with local residents, including some parents, for whom this project may have implications. The structure would provide a 4G network and improve coverage for other existing technologies and will provide exceptionally fast internet to local residents and businesses.

“There are some concerns over the erection of such structures, particularly around Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. The proposal would be fully compliant with standards set down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), who are an independent scientific organisation whose aim is to provide guidance and advice on the health implications of telecommunications development.

“Governors have been fully involved in progressing this project to this stage. No final decision has been taken to go ahead with the erection of this telecommunications structure, and the project is also dependent on gaining planning permission from Harrogate Borough Council.

“As a parent, you may well be wondering why the school is allowing such a project to take place. Many schools have allowed these structures to be put on their land, including Rossett School in Harrogate, and the benefit to the school is a financial one.

“The expectation is that by allowing this project to take place, it would provide £50,000 for the school to spend on developing teaching and learning.

“I believe, on balance, that this project’s benefits outweigh the disadvantages and, in times when school funding is very much under pressure, this would allow significant financial benefit to be gained by the school.”