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Fresh challenge by Walsall MP against controversial phone mast

Walsall | News | Published:

A fresh challenge could be made against a controversial phone mast which has been allowed to remain in Pheasey despite the objections of hundreds of residents.

Now the Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz is pursuing action to get the Court of Appeal to reopen the case into the 45ft mast put, in Waverley Road near Great Barr.

She said under civil procedures rules, there is an opportunity for fresh hearings if there has been an injustice or the circumstances are exceptional.

A landmark case was brought by Walsall Council earlier this month in a bid to get a full appeal at the High Court. But it was rejected by a judge.

More than 300 residents signed a petition in opposition to the 02 and Vodafone mast and council chiefs criticised the decision not to allow an appeal as "morally reprehensible."

Ms Vaz today said: "The Court of Appeal did not address provisions of rule 52.17 of the Civil Procedure Rules which allow the Court of Appeal to reopen the final determination of an appeal in situations where doing so is necessary to avoid real injustice; the circumstances are exceptional; and there is no alternative effective remedy.

"In my view, significant injustices have taken place in the construction of the phone mast."

The mast was put up 18 months ago with the authority seeking to take enforcement action after refusing planning permission.

The council said the decision for the mast, at the junction of Beacon Road, was posted on its website and sent to Vodafone 11 days before the 56-day deadline for a planning decision.

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This was denied by the phone operator which said it had not received the notice of refusal and pushed ahead citing "permitted development". The operator insisted it needed to improve coverage in the area.

A judge refused permission for a judicial review last May but council chiefs have refused to give up the fight leading to the hearing earlier this month.

Ward councillors Mike Bird, Adrian Andrew and Chris Towe have voiced their anger at the mast. Councillor Andrew, Walsall's regeneration boss, said no-one in the area wanted it and had been "ridden roughshod over."

"The council did not want this, residents did not want this and local councillors did not want this but we have all been ridden roughshod over.

"This is a total disgrace.

"This is a morally reprehensible mobile phone mast," Councillor Andrew added.

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