Blunder over phone mast sparks protest

MOBILE phone giant T Mobile won planning permission for a mast in Manchester Road following a bureaucratic blunder.

Officers missed the 56-day deadline to issue a refusal notice allowing the phone company to go ahead and build a 12 meter high mast outside Majestic Wines.

Now residents are furious and have pledged to fight the phone company all the way to an appeal.

The refusal slip was received a day after the deadline and the firm wasted no time getting on with the job.

David Reynolds, 61, retired businessman and journalist, Judy Tams, 39, of Highfield Estate, Manchester Road, arranged a protest at the site, attended by up to 30 neighbours.

Judy, who is expecting her second child soon, said: "We’re shocked and dismayed by this. The first we knew of the mast going up was when the contractors moved on site and started work.

"As far as we were aware, it had been refused - the council had written to us on October to tell us so. When were they going to tell us - did they think we wouldn’t notice - they knew about this in October."

The application concerns a 12 meter high mast with associated ground cabinets to be built at the corner of Manchester Road and Dean Row Road.

Borough council officers refused the application on October 14 on the grounds of highway safety, acting under delegated powers, but the formal notification was not sent until October 17, outside the 56 day deadline.

Daly International, agents for T-Mobile, informed the council that as it missed the deadline it was "out of time" and therefore they had "deemed consent" to continue and build it.

David Reynolds said: "The planning department say there is nothing further they can do which I don’t accept. The council seem perhaps to have made a mistake and they seem to think they can walk away from it."

Judy said: "We’re also extremely disappointed with the actions Daly International - who as agent for T-Mobile are not acting in the spirit of the planning laws."

Ward councillor Paul Whiteley said he was disappointed that he too only found out about this when the building work began but he has since spoken to the chief executive.

He said: "The system is now being looked at closely and it will be altered and hopefully this is something that will not happen again."

Dean Row Councillor Jim Crockatt added: "I am very disappointed with Daly International. They knew the opposition and the dangers. I accept that it was a bloomer but we employ human beings."

Chief planning officer Peter Yates has written to the Daly International requesting a meeting to discuss the application .

He said the company’s approach to a working relationship with the council was not helpful.

He added that for T-Mobile to press ahead in building the mast was irresponsible.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said:

"Although in this particular instance the letter arrived one day late, we are within our rights to go ahead with the application as is our intention." Katrina McKeever

First published by the Wilmslow Express

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