COUNCIL BLUNDER: Massive 5G mast in Stockport village
Lisa Smart, Image: LDRS
A mobile phone firm was able to put up a 20-metre 5G mast a stone’s throw from people’s homes because of a council blunder.
Stockport council had refused communications giant Three permission to install the huge transmitter in Chichester Road, Romiley.
Planners rejected the application of the grounds it would ‘have a significant adverse impact on the character and appearance of the area’.
But due to what bosses are calling ‘an unfortunate coding error’, this fell one day outside the 56 day time limit – allowing the company to assume approval and carry out the development.
The mast now towers over homes in the east Stockport village, where unhappy residents describe it as being ‘in your face’.
The debacle was discussed at a meeting of Werneth Area Committee, on Monday night.
Jackie Connelly, of the council’s legal department, told councillors that talks were to take place with Three in an attempt to negotiate an alternative site for the mast.
It is understood that this could oblige the council to nominate a suitable new plot and pay for the relocation and any associated costs.
Councillor Mark Roberts said the situation was ‘very disappointing for residents’, although he took some comfort from the fact ‘further avenues are being pursued’ by the council.
He added: “I think we probably need to hold back until the next report and meeting, because this is an active situation and I would rather not say something that compromises any discussions that may be going forward.”
However, he did make a point of noting councillors’ dissatisfaction that the first they knew of the situation was ‘when the diggers arrived’ – around two months after the decision was issued.
He added: “It’s so important the local members are kept informed. I appreciate that promise of being told about these things is now there and hopefully this can’t happen again.”
His sentiments were echoed by Councillor Lisa Smart, who stressed it was vital local councillors – and teams in all council departments – were kept in the loop when things go wrong.
“We all make mistakes, we get that – things go wrong and systems are programmed in an incorrect way – we all completely understand that,” she said.
“It’s how you deal with it when those mistakes happen that I think we can learn from and build from.
“It was disappointing it happened – really disappointing – but my hope is we can all learn from it – that this whole massive organisation as a council can learn from it and use it as an example of how to improve things.”
Werneth Area Committee met at Stockport Town Hall, on Monday night (September 13).
Words: Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter
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