Still They Are Angry!
Councillor Phil Bateman said today "Following the huge public meeting of protest that took place on The Pheasant Car Park yesterday I can report that what I had previously written about the anger that people felt was in actual fact spot on!
There was a genuine uprising against the location of this telecommunications mast. The throng of people who attended swelled by local school children from Wood End Primary School were very vociferous and certainly made their views known.
The Conservative Councillor told the protest group that he would not vote for a single mast anywhere in Wednesfield. He was loudly applauded for his stand.
But I explained to the meeting that life was more complicated than that. I explained that I thought that the City Officials had bungled in their registration of the mast, and that the city officials had been alleging that the Agents for T-Mobile had been guilty of 'sharp practice'. Which gave T-Mobile the way forward to erect on the site that is now the centre of protest. I was almost shouted down at this point.
I went onto explain that it was easy to come along with a popular argument and agree with such a large crowd. But I wanted to be honest in my assessment of the situation. I explained that I was pessimistic about the outcome of the request for halting this development. I further explained that T-Mobile now had the law on their side ( none of this went down well!) and if the Regeneration Director could not persuade T-Mobile not to continue with this course of action then there would be a crew there erecting the equipment, if not at the week end some time after that.
I suggested to them that the Local Government Ombudsman should be contacted to investigate if there was a case of Maladministration. Many people in the crowd were keen on this course of action. What is certain is that this is a very angry bunch of people that think the siting of this mast is in a crass position. Dangerous to traffic, a danger to their children in the local school and an eye sore to boot on a sensitive site. Many of those present vowed to do unlawful actions if it was erected. I certainly tried to ensure that this was not the way forward!
What I would like to state is that I and Councillor Dave Jones are very much against the erection of a mast on this site. I oppose it like others in the community within which I live. But I think it is poor politics to suggest that you can vote or set your stance against any plan to erect a mast here in Wednesfield....that is stupid! More than that you are not excersizing your judgement in a way that the law would expect. Conservative Councillor Bourne will have to live with his words and actions.
But this issue has legs of its own. I have now been contacted since the protest meeting by Officials from the City Council.
In correspondence they state that the application for this site was refused by the Council in May 2005. But was technically out of time allowing T-Mobile to gain default permission. City officials say that procedures were changed immediately afterwards to ensure failure to determine in the time required time limit does not happen again.
They repeat to me the claim that T-Mobile have used 'sharp practices' to get this site through the planning system, in the face of considerable public opposition. Every effort has been made to persuade T-Mobile not to erect the monopole. The Director asked T-Mobile to delay installation and to consider alternative sites. the Council has made a thorough search for alternative sites in the area that T-Mobile need to cover.
Now T-Mobile have requested a meeting with the local Councillors next week to discuss the situation dates are to be sought so that this meeting can take place."
The address for the Local Government Ombudsman is;Mr Jerry White
Local Government Ombudsman
The Oaks No 2
Westwood Business Park
Coventry CV4 JOB
Phone: 024 7682 0000
Fax: 024 7682 0001
Author: Phil Bateman
Article Date: 7th October 2006