Take down mast demands village

PUBLISHED: 09:19 15 March 2007 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 May 2010

Residents in Whaddon gather under the shadow of the mast they want to see removed - Pic: Daniel Wilson 2255DW38

Residents in Whaddon gather under the shadow of the mast they want to see removed - Pic: Daniel Wilson 2255DW38

A 12-METRE high mobile phone mast overshadowing a village could be taken down – because of an administrative blunder. The mast on the A1198 in Whaddon, opposite Bassingbourn Barracks, was put up against the wishes of residents and the parish and district

A 12-METRE high mobile phone mast overshadowing a village could be taken down - because of an administrative blunder.

The mast on the A1198 in Whaddon, opposite Bassingbourn Barracks, was put up against the wishes of residents and the parish and district councils because South Cambridgeshire District Council failed to inform telephone company O2 about its objections within a statutory 56-day period.

The village community objected to the mast due to its obtrusive appearance and because it was close to property.

A district council spokeswoman said: "The council did send a letter to O2 opposing the construction of the mobile phone mast.

"Unfortunately, it arrived one day late after a Bank Holiday weekend.

"The council regrets that it is unable to take any action. The legislation is such that O2 is allowed to build the mast.

"The council would like to apologise to Whaddon and Bassingbourn residents for any impact issues the mast has created."

O2 went ahead with the development after withdrawing its first application because it said no-one raised any concerns when they were consulted.

But Whaddon Parish Council chairman Edward Webb said: "It's a poor show.

"The council was given 56 days to make its mind up when we were only given 21 days. We were upset it could not meet the deadline."

O2 said it did not have any feedback when it consulted residents.

James Stevenson, of O2, said: "We wrote to the parish council, planning committee, planning officer and local residents as part of a consultation exercise, but got nothing back."

But residents disagree.

Parish clerk Yvonne Albery said: "When our environment is under pressure from all fronts, the least we should expect from a large publicly known company such as O2 is a proper consultation process and higher standards of behaviour towards the public who have to live in that environment."

Residents want the mast taken down and moved to a site under half-a-mile away where there are already two existing masts.

Cllr Webb said: "We are not against mobile phones. Everyone has them these days and they are pretty much an essential part of everyones lives, but we oppose of the siting of the mast."

Mr Webb said that it is O2's high-handed attitude that residents also opposed.

"It put in an application which I believe was done to deceive and then withdrew and went ahead any way," said Cllr Webb.

"When it withdrew we thought we had won and then we saw them install a bin for the mast.

"There's been so many untruths. It's the undemocratic way it has done this that has angered us. We need to talk with them."

Mr Stevenson said he was willing to talk to residents to look at the options.

"An option could be to take the mast down," he said.


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