29
Jan
2006

ANGER AS O2 FAILS TO MEET CONDITIONS FOR MAST

BY COLETTE WARBROOK
Bath Chronicle

11:00 - 27 January 2006

Council officers have been given the power to take down new antennae on a phone mast. Mobile phone giant O2 (UK) was given permission a year ago to install two extra antennae on the mast at Stirtingale playing fields, in Corston View.

But approval was only given on a series of conditions, which said that the company had to submit plans for landscaping works and carry out an approved scheme before any part of the development was installed.

However, the antennae, along with equipment cabinets, have been installed, but there is no sign of landscape work, a meeting of the Bath South Local Committee heard this week.

A scheme has been submitted and approved, but no work has been carried out, it was revealed at the meeting.

The committee voted to give the council the power to carry out enforcement, but there are expected to be further negotiations between the authority and O2, with enforcement being a last resort.

"We are sick to death of phone companies just ignoring planning, or doing what they want because they feel they can get away with it," said Cllr Steve Hedges (Lib Dem, Odd Down).

"If it had not been for residents in Odd Down, we would not have been aware that they were doing what they were doing.

"They had to have the landscaping part in first, but they put the stuff up before doing the landscaping."

Cllr Hedges said the committee agreed to give Bath and North East Somerset Council officers the power to take enforcement, and they were also asked to investigate the possibility of a covenant being put in place to protect the land.

"We think the land might be protected," said Cllr Hedges.

"But it is only a big 'might' at the moment.

"We called for an update report on this site, so we can find out what the officers have done in respect of this enforcement issue, and to find out a bit more about what is going on with this site."

O2 has pledged to carry out the landscaping work as soon as possible, but no work has taken place in recent weeks.

"Who carries out landscaping work at this time of year?" said an O2 spokesman.

"It will get done. We are just waiting for the weather to improve.

"Taking enforcement action is a big step, and that would be a bit over the top."
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