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Last Updated: Monday, 6 March 2006, 08:26 GMT
Protest held over 'loophole' mast
Protest near Fishermans Avenue
The mast was erected even though the council objected to it
Residents are protesting against a mobile phone mast which went up despite the council saying it had rejected it.

Bournemouth Borough Council had written to Vodafone outlining its objections but did not state clearly enough that permission for the mast was refused.

That allowed the firm to claim it had not been told of any refusal in the given 56-day period laid down by law.

On Sunday, more than 100 Southbourne residents staged a protest near the mast in the park by Fishermans Avenue.

Planning legislation states that if you do not get a refusal within 56 days you have deemed consent
Vodafone spokeswoman

Charmaine Despres, who organised the protest told the BBC that she had collected nearly 500 signatures and that residents were "not prepared to shut up".

She said: "We want the mast removed. The public was objecting, residents were objecting, the council was objecting to it. It should not be there.

"It's inappropriate for a conservation area, it's near schools, it will affect our property prices and, more importantly, it is a health hazard."

The mast was erected on 13 February, even though residents and the council objected to it.

But because the council's letter of refusal - which detailed its objections - did not actually state permission had been refused, the company was technically allowed to put up the mast.

Council officers have called for the company to make a fresh application, moving the mast to a less prominent site.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said the company was happy to talk to the council.

But she added: "Planning legislation states that if you do not get a refusal within 56 days you have deemed consent."

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