Phone mast row

A MASSIVE phone company is set to build a phone mast despite residents' opposition and a council ban – because (of a technicality) they can.Contractors who moved in to build a phone mast banned for health reasons in Felixstowe were forced to stop by furious residents.

A MASSIVE phone company is set to build a phone mast despite residents' opposition and a council ban – because (of a technicality) they can.

Contractors who moved in to build a phone mast banned for health reasons in Felixstowe were forced to stop by furious residents.

But Hutchinson 3G has warned that they will be back to put up the ten-foot high eyesore.

Plans for the mast to be built on a grass verge in Coronation Drive were rejected by Suffolk Coastal District council last month.


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But in open defiance Hutchinson 3G still plan to go ahead as they believe they have planning rights by default because Suffolk Coastal took too long to make their decision.

Mike Davies, community affairs manager for Hutchinson 3G, said: "The actual reality is the application of Suffolk Coastal council failed to meet the statutory deadlines."

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He added: "We get the permission by default."

Mr Davies said that Suffolk Coastal rejected the proposal outside an eight week period given to councils to make a decision. He claims this means that according to national planning law Hutchinson 3G is automatically given permission.

However Suffolk Coastal has warned the phone company that enforcement action would be taken if the mast was built as they do not accept the claim that the council's decision was a day late.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said that the company had known about this alleged deadline, and that the meeting making the decision on October 3 was a day after it.

"We would call on Hutchinson to call a halt on the work and respect the decision of the council and also the feelings of those living in or near to Coronation Drive who are bitterly opposed to this proposed mast."

Suffolk Coastal's development control sub committee yesterday approved the latest application from Hutchinson 3G to build a mast in the chimney of the White Horse Inn, Church Road, Felixstowe because the company had produced evidence to show health risks were negligible. However the council is urging the Government to allay public fears over possible radiation and have written a letter to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to ask for reassurance that these masts are not a health risk.

RESIDENTS of Coronation Drive thought they had won the battle but the threat of a mast being built outside their front doors has reared its ugly head.

The phone mast saga began in early September when residents received letters from Suffolk Coastal council informing them that a telegraph pole, taller than an average two-storey house, could be built in their street.

The residents and councillors rallied round and sent in letters of protest to the council's planning committee voicing their fears that the beams from the mast could possibly threaten the health of the children.

Felixstowe Town council met on September 11 to give their recommendations to Suffolk Coastal and said they did not approve of the mast being built in a residential area.

Then on October 3 Suffolk Coastal rejected the plans on health grounds and because it would be an eyesore.

However since, Hutchinson 3G have been planning to ignore the council's decision. A contractor hired by the phone company arrived on Wednesday this week and started marking the pavement for where the mast would go.

Diggers had been organised to arrive by 4pm that day but residents' protests forced them to postpone their work. However if the residents had not intervened the mast would be built today as it only takes 24 hours to construct.

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