Council apologises to Woodingdean residents

The Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Planning Committee has today apologised to Woodingdean residents after a 12.5m phone mast which the council had originally refused approval for, was legally installed on Warren Road by telecommunications companies CTIL Ltd, Vodafone Ltd and Telefonica UK Ltd.

The application for approval for the mast and two equipment cabinets was rejected by the council on 23 May 2016.  All local planning authorities must issue approval decisions within 56 days of receiving an application, failure to do so means proposals are then deemed to have been approved.

The council’s Planning Team received the application on 29 March 2016 and the decision to refuse approval was issued on 23 May 2016, the fifty-sixth day. However following work to install the mast starting last week, an investigation has shown there was a five day delay between the council’s post room receiving the application and the Planning Team receiving it.

This resulted in an incorrect receipt date and the decision being issued after 56 days.  Therefore, the phone mast was deemed to have consent.

Speaking about the delay, Cllr Julie Cattell, Chair of the Planning Committee apologised to residents, and called the administrative error ‘a terrible oversight’.  She said: “I’m very sorry for the delay that occurred and I apologise to Woodingdean residents who opposed the mast and who took the time to make their views known to us. 

“I  have taken this up with senior staff at the council  and although this will be of little comfort with regards to this case, this terrible oversight has resulted in the council’s procedures being changed to reduce, as far as possible, a repeat of this very unfortunate situation.”