ISSUE: Phone Masts

High Court Judge believes the Rosslyn Park 02 mast should be removed.

Council planners were right to tell a mobile phone company to pull down
an over-sized telecommunications mast a high court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Sullivan found that a government inspector had been wrong to uphold an appeal by O 2 after the council had ordered the mast's

The inspector had concluded that the council was prevented from taking action because it had let the mast go ahead in the first place. In accepting this ruling the secretary of state had also erred.

The council's victory puts the ball back in the secretary of state's
court. He will have to decide whether or not to order the mast's

The council had told the company in January 2001 that because the
installation at Rosslyn Park rugby ground was higher than 15 metres it
had to be either reduced in height or removed.

The mast had been erected without planning permission on the basis that its height was below 15 metres. Investigations subsequently confirmed that the height for planning purposes was over the 15 metre limit.

Local people had objected to the installation.

Planning chairman Ravi Govindia said:

"Quite simply the inspector got it wrong. The only reason the mast had
been built without planning permission was because the council had been told it would be lower than 15 metres.

"Once the mast was erected and it became clear that it was at least two metres above the limit the council was right to seek its removal.

"This is an important decision in an area of planning law where there is
little protection for the resident concerned about the impact of mobile
phone masts."


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