Vodafone refuses to turn off mast

BBC NEWS

A mobile phone company is refusing to turn off a mast that is at the centre of a row over claims it was wrongly erected on council-owned land.

Vodafone has been told to de-activate the mast in Fisherman's Walk, Bournemouth, Dorset, by the council.

But the company has maintained the site is on a public highway and says no decision will be made until after talks have been held with the authority.

A council spokeswoman said: "We are not asking them, we are telling them."

Campaigners have also previously called for the mast to be turned off immediately.

We do not intend to switch off the mast because it would deprive local people of our service Vodafone spokeswoman

Protestor Charmaine Despres said: "I would much prefer it was off but I understand that formalities and procedures have to be followed."

The mast first caused controversy when it was revealed the council had failed to inform Vodafone of its objections within the 56-day statutory time limit.

Last week, campaigners discovered that the mast was actually sited on land owned by the council, which has a policy of not approving phone masts on its property.

Joint talks

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: "We are looking into the suggestion that they own the land.

"As far as we are concerned the land has been used as a highway for over 20 years.

"We are happy to talk to the council about it but we do not intend to switch off the mast because it would deprive local people of our service."

Talks between Bournemouth Borough Council, Vodafone and local resident representatives are due to held on Thursday.

The current council policy of not allowing masts on its land is to be reviewed on 17 May.

Story from BBC NEWS: //news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/england/dorset/4942676.stm

Published: 2006/04/25 11:53:56 GMT

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