Simon Kirby: Residents are angry – and an apology is not enough

Protest over phone mast at Woddingdean (Photograph:Danny Fitzpatrick)
Protest over phone mast at Woddingdean (Photograph:Danny Fitzpatrick)

Residents will not give up the fight and I will be supporting them.

I have been contacted by hundreds of concerned Woodingdean residents and ward councillors Dee Simson and Steve Bell regarding the erection of the Woodingdean telecommunications mast which had planning permission granted by default due to a mistake by Brighton and Hove Council.

The council refused permission for the telecommunications company’s application to erect a mast and cabinet but failed to issue the decision notice outlining the refusal in the required statutory time of 56 days. In such cases, planning permission is granted by default. Despite protests to the council, local residents have seen that the telecommunications company has ploughed ahead, despite being fully aware of local feeling on the matter, and the 12.5 metre telephone mast has been erected together with equipment cabinets on Warren Road.

It is true that the council has issued an apology to local residents but residents are asking what is an apology when there is a 12.5 metre telecommunications mast opposite the shops and in front of the area’s historic cottages?

We all use mobile phones and understand that telecommunications companies need to build masts so that we can have better coverage. That is not the point – the point is the unsuitable location of the mast. The application for a mast on that site was refused in a democratic process which is supposed to take into consideration local people’s views and opinions and it is not fair that local residents in Woodingdean who objected to the application in the correct way now have to suffer because of a mistake made by Brighton and Hove Council.

I am also receiving complaints saying that the mast is so tall and big and white it is reflecting the shops’ neon lights and the traffic lights making the street so bright that residents are unable to sleep. I urge the council to do all they can to rectify the situation. I have contacted ministers at the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Culture Media and Sport to see if there is anything they can do to help.

I have also contacted the managing director of CTIL, asking them to do the right thing and remove the mast and work together with the council to find a more suitable location.

Woodingdean residents are frustrated and angry about the mast and an apology is not enough. They will not give up the fight and I will be supporting them to make sure that their views are heard.


Simon Kirby is the Conservative MP for Brighton Kemptown.