A MOBILE phone company has been slammed after a mast newly placed in Solihull ‘breached planning permission’.
Vodafone was granted permission to put up a 15-metre mast and equipment cabinets on the grass verge outside The Lodge pub on Yardley Wood Road by the Planning Inspectorate following an appeal last October.
Just five months later the controversial mast is up but the associated cabinets are thought to be 200mm taller than stated in the documents approved by government officials.
Planning documents reveal the white cabinets either side of the mast should be 1,725mm and Fir Green coloured.
They also show the green cabinet on the left should measure 1,015mm and it is alleged this too contravenes planning permission.
One campaigner said: “We feel they should not be allowed to switch on the mast until it confirms to the planning design and that they have blatantly disregarded the plans and just done there own thing.
“The units should also be green but they are white and the mast does not look slimline as was agreed in the plan.
“The planning inspectorate decided to allow Vodafone permission to go ahead, against the votes of the residents, local MP, councillors and the signed petition of over 500 signatures.
“If Vodafone cannot confirm to the plans they how do we also know if they will confirm to keeping the mast radiation within safety limits.”
A council spokesperson said: “We have visited the site and identified an apparent variance of around 200mm from the approved height of the cabinets.
“This figure is subject to further verification.
“The matter is the subject of an on-going investigation and we are contacting the company to ask for an explanation.”
A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “Vodafone and Telefonica (O2) customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel.
“Without mobile phone masts mobile phones and devices will not work.
“Cornerstone, who plan and build base stations for Vodafone and Telefonica (O2), endeavour to ensure that all our developments are built in accordance with the relevant requirements.
” We await further comments from the Local Planning Authority regarding the development at Yardley Wood Road, Solihull.”
In December 2017 Solihull’s planning committee refused the application based on a policy within the Local Development Plan, which states any mast should be at a distance of at least twice its height from the nearest residential properties.
The committee had heard that, if it decided to refuse the application, it would contravene National Planning Framework policy (NPF), which states local authorities should not impose a ban on new telecommunications nor insist on such minimum distances.
Campaigners spoke of their fears for the health of children in the area going to school or nursery, the mast being out of scale, and an increase in noise levels.