Residents face new phone mast battle

31 May 2007 | 08:12

A SECOND attempt could be made to put up a mobile phone mast in a Colchester street where residents previously staged a blockade with their cars.

Hutchison 3G (UK) Ltd was given permission to put a mast at the junction of Berechurch Hall Road and Lethe Grove in 2002 after Colchester Borough Council failed to decide on the application in time.

Residents were outraged and when contractors arrived to erect the mast, they parked their cars on the piece of land and the mast was never put up.

Now five years on, Hutchison 3G wants to put a phone mast further up Berechurch Hall Road, at its junction with Mersea Road.

It has submitted an application to Colchester Borough Council which must be dealt with by July 12.

Berechurch ward councillor Terry Sutton said: “I have heard from several people who are annoyed about it.

“Residents will not be able to park their cars and stop it this time as there are double yellow lines on the road so they would be looking at £60 fines.

“The application is basically saying can the council determine if the mast needs permission but it effectively doesn't.

“You can object on design grounds but they are designed these days to fit into the street scene. It is very hard to find ways to stop it.”

Mr Sutton said he had asked Hutchison 3G to confirm they would not also try to use the Lethe Grove junction site, permission for which still exists, but had not had a response.

A spokesman for the firm said: “I can confirm there are current plans for a site at Berechurch Hall Road and Mersea Road but we have no plans for the Lethe Grove site.

“There is demand for Hutchison services in this area and under the terms of the licence we have with the UK government we have to provide a service.

“We have found a good site which we want to use in that area.”

Sue Jackson, principle planning officer for Colchester Borough Council, said: “Because of its height the mast doesn't need planning permission as such but we do need to approve its setting and design which is known as prior approval application.”

Copyright © 2007 Archant Regional Ltd. All rights reserved.

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