THE diocese of London is heading for a "showdown" with
Westminster Council over plans to install nine mobile-phone masts
at St Augustine's, Kilburn, a councillor warned on Wednesday.
In a judgment issued on 2 April, the Chancellor of the diocese
of London, Judge Nigel Seed QC, granted a faculty for the
installation at St Augustine's, and spoke out against the
"ludicrous and ill- in-formed correspondence" with which he had
Residents unhappy about the planned installation argue that the
consultation carried out on behalf of the installation company was
inadequate, and they cite concerns about potential health risks (
News, 23 November). Judge Seed dismissed both criticisms, and
also rejected claims by the council, which has lodged a formal
objection to the proceedings, that the installation would cause
harm to the "special architectural and historical interest" of the
building. The intervention of the council was prompted by an
"ill-informed local campaign", he said.
A spokesman for Westminster Council said on Tuesday that "it is
our view that it is likely to require planning permission," a point
on which the Chancellor disagrees.
On Tuesday, the Vicar of St Augustine's, the Revd Colin Amos,
said: "The judgment was made after taking into account all the
points raised during the consultation process, and we are now
working with the telecom operator on the next steps of the
On Wednesday, Councillor Alastair Moss said that if any works
were done to the church, the council would take "enforcement action
. . . There is a fundamental misunderstanding by the Chancellor and
the Vicar that they do not need planning permission."
He said: "What Westminser Council wants to avoid, and local
residents want to avoid, is a show-down between the diocese of
London, Westminster Council, and English Heritage, which is what
this is heading toward."
The Chancellor's criticism of the campaign as "ill-informed" was
"outrageous": "This is not a political grandstanding opportunity at
all: it's quite simply that the local community has said they are
opposed to this . . . and locally democratically elected people are
standing up for them."
Guidance from the London diocesan advisory committee on
telecommunication installations notes that health-and-safety
concerns are "among several issues with an ethical dimension", and
suggests that "a new transmittor should not be placed close to a
school or other building containing young or vulnerable