Mobile phone mast illegally erected in Warwick as part of a new
police communications network has been ordered to be removed by a
judge at the High Court in London.
The judge ordered that the mast-erected by telecommunications company
02 Airwave at Jephsons Farm, Warwick-be removed within a five week period.
The 16.5 metre mast was erected without the benefit of planning
permission on 18th November last year. Subsequently, an application
for its temporary erection for a 12 month period was refused by
Warwick Distract Council.
An enforcement notice was issued requiring the removal of the mast
and equipment cabin by 1st April. This failed to take place because
both the refusal of planning permission and the issue of the
enforcement notice were the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
The mast was erected as part of a national project being carried out
by 02 Air-wave on behalf of the Home Office to link all 51 Police
Forces with a common communications system.
A spokesman for 02 Air-wave told the Midweek, planning
regulations were overlooked because the company has been working
against a tight schedule to complete the works.
He said: "On occasions it has been necessary to put up masts
without going through the normal planning route."
He argued that emergency planning law allowed the company to erect
the mast for an initial four months. However, planning officials at
the council have rebuffed this clatm, saying that such laws do not
apply to green field sites.
The judge agreed with the council that the conduct of Airwave had
shown a wilful disregard for the planning system and had been driven
by commercial interest. However, he accepted that the mast was needed
as part of Warwickshire Police's new telecommunications system. For
that reason he gave Airwave a five week period-ending on 7th May-to
seek a relocation of the telecommunications equipment so as to
minimise any service disruption.
John Edwards. group leader for development control at the district
council, said: "This is an important judgement for all local
authorities seeking to enforce against developers who deliberately
choose to ignore the planning system.
have given us a variety of alternative locations to site the mast,
which we are considering at the moment."