Protesters sent phone mast crew packing

Craig Cooper (right) of Thorntons Auto Centre and protestors
Craig Cooper (right) of Thorntons Auto Centre and protestors

A WYRE car dealer is taking on a communications giant in a battle over the siting of a phone mast.

Thornton Auto Centre received a shock when contractors working on behalf of Vodafone arrived to erect the mast on pavement outside its Fleetwood Road South showroom.

Clark’s Mast Systems were meant to oversee the installation of a 13.8m high pole, but were denied access by workers.

Autocentre bosses are unhappy and claim they were not consulted about the mast which they say is an eyesore.

Craig Cooper, 26, who has worked at the Auto Centre, which is owned by his father Dominic, said: “We pay significant money for cars to be displayed.

“It is like building it in front of a WH Smith, but they’ve chosen to do it in front of our business. They could put it somewhere else where it might not affect people or businesses.”

Mike Wilson of neighbouring MOT Centre Services and Diagnostics, said Wyre Council never gave any notification. He said “I’m against it. It’s not just a mast, it’s a big box, it’s going to obscene. The council never gave any notification.”

Planning and architectural consultants, Graham Anthony Socialites, helped to make a formal objection.

Under national planning law, telephone masts less than 15m high do not need planning permission, although the operator has to inform the local council of the proposed siting.

A Wyre Council spokesman said: “Having consulted with Lancashire County Council, no objections to this particular siting were received. As the mast and cabinet only prevent direct view into the site over a very small part of a very large forecourt, there was no reasonable justification to insist on it to be moved to an alternative location.”

Vodafone Ltd was unavailable for comment.