TWO telephone companies have been ordered to take down a phone mast after they installed it despite being refused permission by the Council.

Orpington residents were furious when the 12.5 metre mast appeared three weeks ago on a piece of community land between Court Road and Spur Road.

Now Bromley Council have ordered Telefonica O2 UK and Vodafone to remove the mast and two telecoms cabinets.

But O2 claims it had permission because the council had not followed the correct planning process by failing to confirm whether prior approval of siting and appearance was required.

Steve Coster, 62, of Spur Road, said: “I’m very relieved the Council took my side but the process for these things is ambiguous. That’s what’s causing the problems. It needs to be sorted out.

“The amount of apparatus being dropped into the community is totally inappropriate. It’s a disgraceful development. It looks like a telecoms farm now.”

When the application was submitted in March residents launched a petition against the mast, which was signed by 43 people.

The Council disapproved the plans on the grounds that the equipment would be obtrusive and out of character with the area.

Councillor Simon Fawthrop, chairman of plans sub-committee, said, “We are concerned about the action taken by O2 and Vodafone in constructing a telecom installation in full knowledge that the details of siting and appearance had been rejected.

“We share the concerns of local residents about the insensitive way in which this development has been carried out.”

Response from O2

An O2 spokesman said: “Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel. Base stations are low powered devices and only cover approximately half a mile in radius and therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“We will be disappointed if the local planning authority issue an enforcement notice for this mobile phone base station.

“O2 has permission to build the base station. This has been made clear to the Council, who has also been notified that an appeal will be lodged against any enforcement notice.”