TWO huge 5G masts have been installed outside homes after clumsy council chiefs missed a deadline to object.
Residents of Bournemouth, Dorset have spoken of their fury after the 60ft poles were erected directly in front of their homes overnight.
Reports later emerged that the bosses of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council had missed a 56-day deadline to block developments, despite initially saying they would refuse permission.
The ‘appalling’ poles have now been erected at Broadway Lane and Castle Lane West. Both streets are heavily populated.
Jessica Abrook, who lives with her family on Broadway Lane, said she was “shocked” by the flagpoles.
“It is extremely frustrating that the board is unable to do its job,” said the 32-year-old assistant accountant.
“When we applied for planning permission for our house, we had a very slow response from the council, but we had to wait.
“We couldn’t just set up the mast like they did.
“There was no proper consultation. This is all disgusting.”
Neighbor Iryna Ruggeri, 45, said she fears the value of her home will be affected.
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The textile designer said: “It’s a residential area and it’s not nice to have to look at this outside my front door.
“I’m worried about how this will affect property prices.”
A third neighbor blasted the poles as a ‘big, ugly eyesore’.
Now there are fears an unwanted third mast will be installed at Merley, Poole after officials again reportedly failed to meet the deadline.
Lib Dem adviser Richard Andrews blamed the error on council officers working from home.
“An administrative error is regrettable, but I know that the planning department has problems with the registration and processing of requests,” he said.
“You’re probably going to run things better if you can get people together in a room, rather than through a Zoom meeting.”
Telephone antenna applications are submitted through the pre-approval process, which does not require the same level of consultation as a typical planning application.
The town planning department has 56 days to issue a decision refusing to block the proposal.
Phone company Three says the council has therefore “assumed consent” and has no legal power to prevent them from putting up the 5G mast.
Instead, the only option left to Authority is to have Three “paint them green” so they better match the surroundings.
Regarding the latest mast application at Merley, Poole, a spokesman for Three said: “We have carried out extensive research and investigation to assess the options before applying for planning permission on Sopwith Crescent.
It is extremely frustrating that the board is unable to do its job
“We have followed the correct processes and made an application on November 25, 2021, and have not received a response from council within the 56 day period – as a result we have permission to build the mast.”
The BCP council said they were in talks with Three over the mast at Merley as they disagree on “deemed consent”.
But David Kelsey, chairman of the council’s planning committee, said he didn’t believe there was a problem with working from home.
He said: “The majority of planning requests are registered through an online portal.
“There has been a backlog, but we are trying to clear it as quickly as possible and things have improved over the past six months to ensure applications are processed as quickly as possible.”
Regarding working from home, a spokesperson for the BCP Council said: “The BCP Council is developing modern working practices that benefit both service delivery and our colleagues.”
They would not provide figures on the number of employees working from home.