Rejected mast goes ahead regardless

WORK is today underway on a mobile phone mast in Stowupland after planners missed the 56-day deadline to reject it.The application for the 12-metre high mast had been turned down by Mid Suffolk council, in June, but they failed to tell the applicant, Hutchison 3G, in time.

WORK is today underway on a mobile phone mast in Stowupland after planners missed the 56-day deadline to reject it.

The application for the 12-metre high mast had been turned down by Mid Suffolk council, in June, but they failed to tell the applicant, Hutchison 3G, in time.

The council today apologised for the error and said they are taking measures to ensure it does not happen again.

But Patrick Bewley, of Stowupland Parish Council, said there are "no excuses" for the "cock-up".

He said: "I'm most annoyed about this, especially considering we've already got two other mobile phone masts which we also protested against."

"In my view Mid Suffolk or any council that causes this difficulty should be heavily penalised either by a fine or by someone getting the axe.

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"There's frankly no excuse. There is such a thing as e-mail and fax and they can't blame it on the postal strike because it wasn't happening then.

"It's a complete and utter cock-up."

Hutchison 3G began work on the site, next the Ipswich-bound carriageway of the A14, at the end of last week after failing to receive the notice.

Gary Pullan, development control manager of Mid Suffolk, confirmed this was perfectly legal.

He said: "We've been apologising to everybody who has been affected and we've held our hands up.

"This application was determined right by the deadline and we would normally fax the result but we've made a mistake. We openly admit that.

"It got put in the post and was received by the applicant the day after. The end result is that we missed the deadline so the telecommunications company is acting perfectly legally."

A letter has also been sent to some of the affected residents apologising for the situation.

The new mast will be the third in the Stowupland area, with others already in place in Green Farm and Park Farm.

Last year, a similar error by Suffolk Coastal Council resulted in a mast being put up in Coronation Drive, Felixstowe.

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