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Mast blockaders: take us to court!

PUBLISHED: 23:58 13 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:00 03 March 2010

FAMILIES blockading the site of a controversial mobile phone mast to stop contractors putting up the aerial say it will take court action to stop them.

FAMILIES blockading the site of a controversial mobile phone mast to stop contractors putting up the aerial say it will take court action to stop them.

Meanwhile, they have complained to the Ombudsman about Suffolk Coastal council – and say they will definitely sue if the ten-metre mast is constructed.

One resident told the Evening Star that it was planned to change some of the vehicles parked on the land in Coronation Drive, Felixstowe, but the site would remain blockaded to prevent access.

"We have written to the Ombudsman to state our case and also to ask if there is anything he can do to stop this mast being put up," said the householder.

"If it goes up, we have a strong case for compensation because of the council's mistakes in the planning process.

"But we really don't want it to go up in the first place – if it could be stopped, it will save a lot of bother and money."

He said only court action would stop residents parking their vehicles on the land.

"We are not going to give up and we are going to fight this to the end. The blockade will continue," he added.

Two cars and a former army truck have been placed on the grass verge to stop mobile phone giant Hutchison 3G's contractors starting work.

Suffolk Coastal refused permission for the mast but then discovered it failed to meet the deadline for rejecting the aerial by one day – taking 57 instead of 56 – and now Hutchison 3G claims it has deemed permission to put up the pole.

Councillors had refused the mast because it would be seriously detrimental to the amenity of the neighbourhood and health risk worries as it would send rays through children's bedrooms.

In a similar case in Swindon, where the council also intended to refuse an aerial but missed the deadline, seven households were awarded £117,000 after showing that the mast had devalued their properties.

An Ombudsman decided there had been "maladministration causing injustice" and ordered independent valuations of the homes affected with and without the mast, with the council told to pay the difference.

Hutchison 3G has said it will put up the mast, which is an important link in its network, and has only delayed the work because of the blockade.

n What do you think – would you be worried about living near a mobile phone mast? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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