‘Boycott likely over Vodafone and O2 over phone mast fiasco’ says local MP

Steve McCabe MP and local councillors for Bournville & Cotteridge have warned a boycott of Vodafone and O2 telecommunications companies is likely because of their insistence on building a huge phone mast in the garden village of Bournville.

There is massive local opposition to the massive 17.5 meter phone mast which is to be located in a prominent location on the corner of Heath Road and Hawthorne Road in Bournville. Local residents have come together to form BRAM – Bournville Residents Against the Mast – and are protesting this week to stop the phone mast.

 

Local councillors Liz Clements and Fred Grindrod have tried to work with Vodafone and O2 to find an alternative location for the mast but so far the phone companies have shown little interest and have decided to install the mast at this location regardless of opposition.

 

Steve McCabe MP wrote to the Chief Executives for both Vodafone and O2 urging them to listen to local residents and abandon their plans but he has still not received a reply from either.

 

Steve McCabe MP, Cllr Liz Clements and Fred Grindrod have been working with local residents to oppose a second application to build a large phone mast on the corner of Heath Road and Hawthorne Road, Bournville, since the start of the year.  The application was initially refused by the Planning Committee in March but in a case of shocking incompetence the applicants were later given approval by default. It transpired the Planning Department failed to properly register the application meaning they missed their own deadline for making a decision by one day and the phone companies pounced on this to bypass local opposition and demand consent by default.

 

 At the time Steve McCabe MP called for an inquiry into the practices and management of the council after a series of failings, including the fiasco of giving planning permission to Lidl to build a store in Stirchley and then rescinding the permission as they hadn’t observed their own planning policy. The Council later denied there were any problems within the Planning Department and said these were isolated incidents.

 

Steve McCabe MP said:

“Vodafone and O2 are riding roughshod over my constituents who do not want a huge 17.5 meter phone mast sticking out on the corner of Heath Road and Hawthorne Road. We are happy to work with reasonable people to find a compromise but these organisations, who spend their time avoiding paying tax and riding roughshod over the public, need to be brought to heel. I’m calling on the Government to intervene. We need to send these companies a message that they can’t demand planning permission on a technicality and then build a mast that no one wants. We should hit them where it hurts and boycott Vodafone and O2 - they need to know their bullying behaviour is not welcome.”

 

Cllrs Liz Clements and Fred Grindrod said:

“We and local residents will not just lie down and let Vodafone and O2 build their phone mast in our local area. They have shown absolutely no regard to the feelings of local residents or the fact that the site is in a conservation area. George Cadbury will be turning in his grave.”

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