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Orange celebrates the future of telecoms masts

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Prince Charles has announced competition-winners for sleek telecom masts, while campaigners have condemned antennas as eyesores.

Gennaro Picardi of Picardi Architects won a technical award for an ultra- thin antenna for Orange's Millennium Landmark Initiative. The 30m-high galvanised steel mast has a motorised winch for lowering aerials and dishes. Dewhurst Macfarlane was the engineer.

Anthony Leslie and Richard Davies from Company of Five Architects also won a technical award for a mast covered in red and yellow perforated steel tubing.

Joint winners in the professional category were artists Robert Scott Simon and Barry Mason. Architect Ian Fraser Milne, engineer Adams Kara Taylor, and freelance designer Aaron Davies were commended.

Nottingham University architecture student Chee Horng Chang won the student category, with Manchester University's Philip Carr commended. Dr Stan Swallow, a lecturer in industrial design from Brunel University, also won praise.

More than 600 designs were entered in May and last week's award ceremony took place at St James's Palace. Orange engineers are considering working with the winners to build prototypes. The firm caused a stir in June by asking entrants to sign away their intellectual property rights, including copyright.

Meanwhile the Council for the Protection of Rural England has called on the government to clamp down on the 'proliferation of unsightly masts marching across the countryside'. It says that planning controls should be tightened to give public and councils more say on their development.

The cpre has launched a Telcommunicatons Development briefing paper to help volunteers become more involved in planning decisions. It costs £3 from cpre, tel 0171 976 6433.

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