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Missed deadline anger of phone mast protestors

STRONG MESSAGE: people in the area express their views. Picture: Martin Barker
STRONG MESSAGE: people in the area express their views. Picture: Martin Barker

RESIDENTS living near the site of a proposed mobile phone mast are angry that it will be built despite planners refusing it permission.

A Thanet District Council worker is believed to have missed the deadline to return the refusal to the applicant by just one day.

The third generation antenna is being installed on the corner of Montefiore Avenue and Hereson Road, Ramsgate.

A letter informing phone firm Hutchison 3G of the council's decision was sent a day too late, meaning the company is legally allowed to build the mast by default.

The council blames staff shortages.

People living within yards of the new mast are now seeking legal advice.

A series of public meetings have been held at the Racing Greyhound in Hereson Road. where landlord Dave Wilkinson is among the protesters.

He said: "The council have said there will be no danger to health, but children will be playing a few feet away from the mast.

"No one thought to consult us until the workmen arrived."

Ward councillors Michelle Fenner and Alan Poole have both fought for the mast to be refused.

"The council informed us at very short notice that the mast to be built, " said Cllr Poole.

"We are trying to persuade the planning department and representatives of the phone company to attend a meeting with residents where alternative sites can be discussed."

The original application was refused on the grounds that the mast would clutter up the corner, as there eare already several lampposts and other signs in place.

There were no objections on health grounds, but residents claim they were not given enough warning to object.

Speaking of the missed deadline, a council spokesman said: "New systems have now been put in place to ensure that a similar situation does not arise again in the future."

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