PHONE MAST FURY

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MOBILE phone companies have caused outrage by placing a massive phone mast in a housing estate - without asking for residents’ consent.

People in Baljaffray first learned about plans by O2 and Vodafone to build a base station near their homes last Wednesday - when workmen closed a busy road and began to put up a huge aerial.

Residents were gobsmacked when the work started near Abercrombie Drive - as they say NO consultation was carried out.

Now Factor One Property, which represents around 40 households in the north Baljaffray area, says it could start a legal battle to get answers.

And, as the Herald went to press, Alderglen Housing Association, which represents households in Abercrombie Drive and Moorfoot Way, was due to hold an emergency public meeting in Baljaffray Parish Church.

Factor One boss Mitchell Edwards, who lives near the new base station, said: “The first we knew of this was when they blocked off half of Baljaffray Road and started putting this up. Basically, we woke up to find a radio mast being sited when we were never asked if we wanted one.

“We are now looking at our options as the land that it has been put on was not theirs to build on. This is an incredible situation, it just came out of the blue as no consultation was done, so I can’t see how the planning process was carried out correctly.”

A spokeswoman for Cornerstone, which represents Vodafone and O2, said: “Vodafone and O2 have decided that we will share network assets wherever we can which will reduce the overall number of new base station locations for both parties, reduce deployment costs and follow the guidance set out in planning legislation.

“Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live. work and travel. Base stations are low powered devices which only cover approximately half a mile in radius and therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

Ownership

“We have identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Bearsden and proposed a shared base station on Baljaffray Road. Planning permission for this site was granted in April 2011 and the site is now built.

“As part of the process of applying for planning permission the ownership of the land at Baljaffray Road was investigated. It was concluded that the land where the mobile phone base station is located is adopted highways land. As such Vodafone and O2 have a right to install and maintain a mobile phone base station at this location.”

Thomas Glen, head of development and enterprise at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “The council planning department carried out the correct procedures when approving the planning application for the installation of the telephone mast on Abercrombie Drive.

“The planning department does not confirm land ownership or approval from landowners as part of the assessment process - this is the responsibility of the applicant.

“Planning permission for the installation of a telephone mast on Abercrombie Drive has been granted from the council as planning authority, however permission to build on this land must come from the landowner.”