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Friday, August 7, 1998 Published at 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK


Plastic pine drives residents up the pole

Leaf it out: One resident called the 'tree' a monstrous carbuncle

Residents are calling on Prince Charles to help block plans to build a telecommunications mast - disguised as a tree - in a picturesque town.

Mobile phone firm Orange says the tree in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, will blend in with its surroundings because it will be disguised as a Scots pine.

The 25-metre high 'tree' would house three antennae and two dishes hidden among steel branches and plastic pine needles.

[ image: Ian Leiper: An invasion]
Ian Leiper: An invasion
But locals claim the scheme would make a laughing stock of the town.

Resident Ian Leiper said: "Whether it is disguised as a plastic tree or not, it is going to be very tall, an invasion on the visual environment .

"If I want to see a plastic tree, I'll take myself off to Legoland."

Another resident, Jim Montgomery, said: "This is like a scheme dreamed up by Dad's Army. It's not going to work.

"The very idea of putting that monstrosity in the park three quarters of a mile from the Old Town is ridiculous.

"It's a monstrous carbuncle."

Barrister Ben Anderson, said: "They must think Beaconsfield residents are totally stupid.

"Two microwave dishes and three antennas would stand out in a natural tree, never mind a steel and plastic monstrosity."

[ image: Tree line: Antenna cunningly hidden among the branches]
Tree line: Antenna cunningly hidden among the branches
The residents plan to write to Prince Charles to seek his support in opposing the structure.

Orange said the tree would fit in well with the surrounding area.

A spokesman said: "We have several up and down the country.

"Wherever we erect a new mast we do everything we can to make sure it blends in as much as possible with the surrounding environment.

"Where appropriate we will put up a tree."

Orange has put masts on churches, lighthouses and windmills.

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