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'Shambles' after 12.m phone mast allowed due to Havering Council error

PUBLISHED: 16:10 18 December 2015

Residents objected en masse to the application, which was the third application submitted by the company

Residents objected en masse to the application, which was the third application submitted by the company

Archant

Residents have called the council "a joke" after a 12.5m telephone mast has been given planning permission by default because of a missed deadline.

The application for prior approval, which is necessary to decide on the site and height of mast, submitted by Telefonica UK was the third application for the mast at the junction between Albany Road and Chestnut Avenue, in Hornchurch.

It was rejected again by planning officers on November 26 for being “a dominant and visually intrusive feature in the street scene”.

But a planning officer failed to notify the company within 56 days from the application being lodged, in this case by November 27, and under existing laws, this means the permission was automatically granted.

Paul Moon, 48, of Albany Road, said: “This is a cock and bull story.”

“It’s either negligence by the council or it’s corrupt or the mast was down to go up anyway.”

Mr Moon fears his home of 30 years is going to lose market value when the mast is erected.

He told the Recorder he was exploring all complaints options and would consider civil action.

Cabinet member for regulatory services, Cllr Osman Dervish, said: “The council acknowledges its responsibility for not delivering the decision notice in time and for that we are extremely sorry.

“I would like to reassure residents that the proposed installation is compliant with necessary health and safety legislation, and we have asked the operator to consider changing where it will be put.”

Ruth, from Albany Road, said she felt “very disappointed and let down by the council”.

“It would seem the whole process has been a shambles and I’m sure the telecommunications company are smiling from ear to ear,” she said.

Hylands Cllr Jody Ganly, who opposed the plans for the mast on all three occasions, told the Recorder, “I feel devastated for the residents – it’s going to look completely out of character,” she added.

She explained 96 objections to the plans were received by the council, “which is a huge number,” she said.

Telefonica UK was contacted for comment but did not respond before the Recorder wen to press.

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