Milton Keynes Today
A MOBILE phone operator who placed a mast just yards from a nursery, youth club and the local MP's home, has faced fury from residents.
Residents say Hutchison 3G has exploited a loophole in the law which means it can place the mast on top of Olney Fire Station's training tower without planning permission because it is less than 15m tall.
Jeremy Rawlings, the chairman of the neighbouring Olney Youth Club, said: "The way Three have behaved in this matter is totally indefensible because they gave an assurance to Milton Keynes Council they would look at all sites but have gone ahead with it without any consultation."
Hutchison had asked Milton Keynes Council last year for suggestions for sites in the town, but when it gave 28 days notice in April that it was going to place the mast on top of the training tower of the fire station in East Street, the proposal was met with universal opposition.
Milton Keynes Council asked Hutchison to reconsider, and the firm said it would think about it.
Residents thought that was the end of the matter until they saw work starting at the site two weeks ago.
Kevin Viney, who lives on East Street , said: "The loophole is if they put the aerial at the height they wished to, they would have required full planning permission. But by conveniently putting it on a disused structure they did not need to do any more than inform Milton Keynes Planning Department."
MP Mark Lancaster, who described it as an anomaly in the law, said: "It is ironic it is just yards from my house but I can assure you that Conservative Party policy has not changed since I moved there. "We think masts like this should require planning permission."
Olney councillor Graham Mabbutt was also furious that Hutchison 3G had ignored the town council's wishes and penned a 10-year contract with Bucks Fire Authority, thought to be worth tens of thousands of pounds.
Cllr Mabbutt said: "What I find unsavoury more than anything is the action of the Bucks Fire Authority not consulting with us or finding out what our policy on it was."
The fire service, which is embarrassed by development, said it will meet with the council and Hutchison 3G.
Gareth Coombes-Olney, Hutchison 3G's corporate affairs manager, said the mast meets safety and technical requirements.
"Hutchison have not done anything wrong, they are entitled to build it," he added.
Loophole in the law: Calls for `illegal' phone mast veto
The telecommunications industry often does not even bother to seek planning permission, as these examples from the Worcester Evening News show, they just show up and install after dark, or on a Friday afternoon when the council and planning have gone on weekend, or they call it “TEMPORARY MAST”.
The sloppy and biased wording of John Prescott’s PPG8 allows them to believe that they alone have inherited the earth, and they make full use of that.
Can anyone explain to me why the Government bothered to concoct the mobile industries “Code of best conduct” when it was never intended to be used, there are no repercussions for not following ANY of the guidelines it gives, so it is totally safe for the industry to ignore it, which of course they do.
Is this just one more of from the heap of the Governments Useless Paperwork, which has cost a fortune to produce, but was never intended to be followed??
First published on Thursday 04 November 2004:
Calls for `illegal' phone mast veto
A MOBILE phone mast has been put up in a village near Droitwich without planning permission or consultation.
The Vodafone third generation (3G) mast appeared - to villagers' amazement - in a private field in Salwarpe.
But residents say they are outraged that the communications giant has no planning permission for the transmitter and that it failed to let anyone know it was erecting the mast last week.
"I have received many letters from residents who are very angry about this," said Wychavon councillor, Andrew Christian-Brookes.
"If a member of the public builds a house without permission, Wychavon District Council would use the law to stop them and force them to take it down.
"No resident could build a house and then say `it's OK, we will come back in six months with a planning application'.
"There cannot be a rule for one, and one for another. Vodafone must stick to rules like everyone else."
Villagers had at first believed that farm building work was going on but then a 50ft mast appeared.
Mr Christian-Brookes said that he and residents would now be officially objecting to the mast and hoped that legal action would be taken against Vodafone.
Principal area planning officer for Wychavon, Mike Hurst, confirmed the council had received a letter from Vodafone asking for planners' views on a possible mast but that no permission had been granted.
"We are aware of the mast. Vodafone has jumped the gun and we are now investigating the situation," he said.
A spokesman for Vodafone said the antenna was only a temporary structure but said the company would be applying for planning permission for a permanent mast to be put up somewhere on the site.
"The mast is in a rural area and tall trees around the area minimise its visual impact," said the spokeswoman.
Farmer and owner of the land, Mike Davis, said he did not wish to comment on the issue.
First published on Wednesday 09 February 2005:
Second mobile phone mast for golf course on the cards
A SECOND mobile phone mast is likely to be put up on Tolladine Golf Course.
Vodafone has put in a planning application for a mast disguised as a fir tree to improve its mobile coverage.
*** It follows criticisms the company received from the city council after it put up a temporary mast without planning permission last year.
Residents in The Fairway, off Tolladine Road , complained because the mast was not disguised and needed a noisy generator to power it.
But the new mast will be some way from homes and disguised as a tree - although it will have a standby generator that will reach 60 decibels at night.
A similar mast, put up by mobile phone company 3, has been on the course for two years.
Warndon Parish Council raised no objection to the latest plans, although member Frank Lauriello warned that it could set a precedent.
"This could open the floodgates so there could be more up there before long.
"What if Orange, for example, comes along and wants to put up a mast?
"It's very important that these things stay in keeping with the environment."
***A temporary mast, on the back of a trailer, was put up last November under cover of darkness prompting what
Worcester City Council's principal planning officer Peter Yates called an "exchange of views" between him and Vodafone.
The temporary mast was taken away and the new planning application has now been submitted.
The application will now go before Worcester City Council's planning committee for approval, taking into account the views of the parish council and other people affected.
The operators (and their bounty hunters, who are the people who deal with finding the sites and dealing with council planners) must give awfully good lunches and treats.
Just the way the planners use the language to intimidate and try and humiliate the people objecting shows how good education seminars the operators have given to council planners.
The planner in Worcester, Peter Yates is a real beauty, and I bet he also is a fast learner.
He is the head of the Worcester group of Amnesty International, and does a lot of work to get political prisoners in Korea out of jail and torture, but he has no compassion for his own people in Worcester.
I have wondered whether he does the Amnesty bit on grounds of bad conscience over how he treats his own.