You must take down 'eyesore' mast, city council tells phone company EE
A PHONE company has been told it must take down a controversial 20-metre mast it installed in Derby – to the delight of campaigners who fought for its removal.
But the door has been left open for a replacement mast to go up in the "local area".
Orange, which later became Everything Everywhere (EE) after merging with T-Mobile, put up the equipment in Elvaston Lane, Alvaston, in March last year.
The city council said it permitted the move under "emergency planning rules", which allowed the mast to stay without formal planning consent for six months.
The council said the use of these powers was "effectively" valid as it was intended to replace a mast on Yarmouth House, which was scheduled to be demolished. But campaigners were furious that the "eyesore" had been put up after no public consultation.
Now, after months of legal wrangling following the city council's refusal to extend the mast's stay to three years, the authority has demanded the equipment be removed.
In a letter which the Derby Telegraph has seen, the authority said it would "commence enforcement proceedings" if EE did not remove the mast within three months.
After the city council rejected EE's extension request, the company appealed but this was rejected by a planning inspector.
The letter, signed off by principal planning officer Sara Booty, added that "in line with the planning inspector's recommendations", a more suitable site for the mast in the "local area" should be investigated.
It says: "If you wish to undertake pre-application advice for a replacement mast, I am happy to discuss alternative options with you."
David Gale, a member of campaign group Roam (Remove Orange's Alvaston Mast), said residents would be pleased that it appeared the mast would soon be gone.
But he said he was concerned that EE could "spin out" its stay by appealing against the planning inspector's decision in the High Court.
He said: "We've stressed from the outset that this is far from a suitable location for a full commercial mast.
"We've always advocated that it should be put up near the Blue Jay (pub). In fact, that area is somewhat more elevated and they would get better reception there."
Councillor Linda Winter, who represents Alvaston, said "enforcement action" meant the council would take the mast down if EE did not.
She said: "When residents' looked out of their windows, this mast was all they could see."
When asked yesterday, an EE spokeswoman originally said the mast had already been taken down – which it had not.
She was asked to check her facts but did not make further comment.