Group motivated against mast bid

By Robert Fisk

Mast campaigners stop the crane from leaving the site

A CAMPAIGN group has vowed to keep fighting against mobile phone masts on a telephone exchange roof.

Members of Orpington Residents Against Masts (ORAM) are trying to get Bromley Council to make Vodafone take its three masts off the roof of the building in Goodmead Road, Orpington.

The campaigners believe the masts were put up illegally because Bromley Council assured residents it would not let Vodafone install masts until it had got legal advice.

This was voted on at a planning meeting in January but the council is still awaiting a response from the legal team. continued...

Brian George, 41, is angry with the way Vodafone has dealt with the situation.

The mobile phone giant brought a crane to the site at about 7.30am on July 8 to put the masts up.

Campaigners were too late to stop the crane from getting through the gates but lay down outside to stop it from leaving.

They managed to stop it for about 45 minutes before the police moved them on for causing an obstruction.

Father-of-three Mr George said: "It is blatantly disregarding the residents.

"If you know the residents are fighting then just to go on and plough through is disgraceful."

Now Mr George says they have been told T-Mobile wants to put three masts on the roof.

He said: "We will continue to do our demos. We are not giving up.

"If we know what day and what time, we will be on the gates."

Bromley Council is planning to visit the telephone exchange to see how the masts have been installed.

But Mr George, a nurse, does not think the council is doing enough to stop companies from putting up the masts.

Mr George said: "We are furious at the incompetence of the planning department and the inactivity of Bromley's legal department on this issue.

"The council takes decisions on behalf of the community and we feel it has let the residents down."

A Bromley Council spokesman said: "We have received legal advice which we are considering.

"We will then make a decision about when and how to proceed.

"We can empathise with residents on what must seem to them a long procedure but we must make sure we get this right."

A Vodafone spokesman said: "We notified the council of our proposal in November and, as yet, it has not disputed this development accords with legislation.

"As we have a need to provide 3G coverage to the area a decision was taken to proceed with the development."

8:54am today

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