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Wanstead nursery ‘devastated’ by council phone mast blunder

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 October 2016

The Little Diamonds Nursery in Hermon Hill Wanstead is having an open day ahead of it's opening in September. Nasrim Hanifi with son Karim 14 months with owner Karrien Stevens

The Little Diamonds Nursery in Hermon Hill Wanstead is having an open day ahead of it's opening in September. Nasrim Hanifi with son Karim 14 months with owner Karrien Stevens

Archant

Work has begun on a 12 metre phone mast, which overlooks a popular nursery, as bungling council staff submitted its objection two days too late.

Officers had a 56 day window to argue the structure should not be built in Hermon Hill, Wanstead, but “due to a technicality” sent their response on the 58th day.

The oversight means the eyesore was approved automatically, and company Galliford Try started construction on Friday.

The mast will provide 3G and 4G to Vodaphone and O2 customers.

The director of Little Diamonds Ltd, the nursery next door, told the Recorder she was “absolutely devastated”.

Karrien Stevens said: “I’m furious because all of my parents are really upset, it’s going to have a detrimental impact on the nursery.”

After working for a nursery in Newham for 14 years, Mrs Stevens spent three years refurbishing the site of Little Diamonds before opening last year.

“Within four months of opening we heard about this mast going up, it’s just outrageous,” she explained.

“We have tried to fight against this, but have been let down by the council.”

A Redbridge Council spokesman said the local authority objected to the mast due to “visual impact”.

He continued: “Unfortunately, due to a technicality, the decision was issued two days late and the telecoms company therefore received automatic approval under central government’s generous permitted development rules.

“The company was made aware of the council’s objections at the time, giving plenty of time to consider other designs and locations.

“However the company has gone ahead and begun constructing the mast despite our and local residents’ concerns.”

He added that Galliford Try should “take their corporate and social responsibility seriously”.

A spokeswoman for the construction company said: “The local planning authority have a set time to refuse permission, after that time period has elapsed and no response is sent, approval is deemed to have been granted.

“We understand that some people have concerns about masts in the community, but if we are to provide coverage, they must be located where people use their devices.”


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