Fury as phone mast deadline missed

A PARISH councillor has voiced his outrage after a council mistake condemned his village to having a third mobile phone mast.Work is under way on a 12-metre-high mobile phone mast in Stowupland, near Stowmarket, after planning officers missed the 56-day deadline to reject it.

A PARISH councillor has voiced his outrage after a council mistake condemned his village to having a third mobile phone mast.

Work is under way on a 12-metre-high mobile phone mast in Stowupland, near Stowmarket, after planning officers missed the 56-day deadline to reject it.

The application for the mast had been turned down by Mid Suffolk District Council in June, but it failed to tell the applicant Hutchison 3G in time.

Mid Suffolk District Council apologised yesterday for the error and said it was taking measures to ensure it did not happen again.


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But Patrick Bewley, a member of Stowupland Parish Council, felt there are no excuses for the error and 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. There's frankly no excuse."

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

Gary Pullan, development control manager with Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "On behalf of the council, I apologise to all those affected by the mast being erected. Due to an administrative error, the council missed the decision deadline on the notification by one day.

"Unfortunately, because the mast does not need planning permission, the council has no powers to remedy the situation.

"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."

The council has also sent a letter 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.

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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