Council admits mast land mistake

A controversial mobile phone mast opposed by residents should never have gone up, it has been revealed.

Campaigners found out that the mast in Fisherman's Walk, Bournemouth, Dorset, is actually sited on council land which is not on the highway.

Bournemouth Borough Council has a policy of not giving phone companies permission to put up masts on its land.

Protestors are calling for the mast to be removed immediately. The council has said it will hold talks with Vodafone.

We immediately request that the mast be turned off today Campaigner Charmaine Despres

The mast has been the focus of public anger since it came to light that it had only won permission because the council had failed to meet a 56-day deadline to let the company know it had rejected the application.

Campaigner Charmaine Despres was furious when she learned that the council could have stopped Vodafone from erecting the mast from the very outset.

She told the BBC News website: "They should have known this was not highway land and should have refused the application on those grounds.

"We now demand that the council finally use it power and ask Vodafone to remove the said offending mast forthwith and immediately request that the mast be turned off today."

Policy to be reviewed

A council spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that the mast is on council land and we do have the power to ask Vodafone to remove it.

"However, being mindful of the possibility of even less acceptable locations being proposed by Vodafone the suggested way forward is for the council to meet with Vodafone, representatives of the residents along with ward councillors to discuss possible alternative sitings that will minimise the effect in the area."

She added that the current council policy of not allowing masts on its land was to be reviewed on 17 May.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: "As far as we are aware, this land has been used and maintained as a highway for over 20 years but we are always happy to talk to the council about any concerns they may have."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/04/20 17:02:16 GMT



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