A row has broken out after a legal loophole allowed a mobile phone mast to be erected despite local protest

A row has broken out after a legal loophole allowed a mobile phone mast to be erected despite local protest.

BBC News website

It has been revealed that a Bournemouth Borough Council letter to Vodafone did not state clearly enough that permission for the mast was refused. That allowed the firm to claim it had not been told of any refusal in the given 56-day period laid down by law. The council is furious with the company for "exploiting" the loophole. Vodafone says it has "deemed consent". Proposals for the mast on the corner of Wentworth Avenue and Fishermans Avenue saw heated protest from local residents, who were delighted when the council backed them. But because the council's letter of refusal - which detailed all the objections - did not actually state permission had been refused, the company was technically allowed to put up the mast. Its officers are now calling for the company to make a fresh application, moving the mast to a less prominent site. Mike Holmes, head of planning and transport, said: "Whilst technically we omitted to tell Vodafone that their application had been rejected, in our view it is clear that from the numerous points made in the letter that the actual outcome was obvious. "We were concerned to learn of this loophole and would like to ensure residents that internal changes have been carried out to see that this does not happen again." Deemed consent Jane Frapwell, a spokeswoman for Vodafone, told the BBC News website the company was happy to talk to the council. But she added: "Planning legislation states that if you do not get a refusal within 56 days you have deemed consent. "We do understand the council's point of view but if, for the sake of argument, we reapplied and they refused it we would go to a planning inspector to appeal the decision. "The inspector would say we already have deemed consent. That's the position we are in."

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