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Ombudsman raps Solihull Council over moblile phone mast

AN INVESTIGATION into a council planning blunder - which infuriated Hillfield residents - has been discontinued.

AN INVESTIGATION into a council planning blunder - which infuriated Hillfield residents - has been discontinued.

Because of the local authority’s gaffe, a telecoms giant was able to erect a phone mast on the corner of Widney Manor Road - despite planning permission having been refused by councillors.

Following the debacle, Solihull resident Diana Hanson complained to the local government Ombusdman.

In a letter to Mrs Hanson earlier this month, the Ombudsman acknowledged that the council was guilty of maladministration. However, residents had not suffered an injustice and the Ombudsman said that he would not be pursuing the matter further.

Mrs Hanson, who founded the CAVI Society - which campaigns against the dangers of phone masts, said: “I do maintain that this did cause an injustice to local people. There were lots of fears about the health risks and it might make it difficult for people who live nearby to sell their homes.

“This wasn’t a case of an extension or a garden shed being put up by mistake, this is a mast which actually emits radiation into people’s homes.”

The Ombudsman has recommended that the council pay compensation to Mrs Hanson for her time and trouble, although the local authority will not have to compensate other locals.

Councillor Stuart Davis, chairman of the planning sub-committee said: “We have accepted a local settlement which was suggested to us by the Ombudsman. We have apologised to residents in the area and taken new measures to help ensure that it does not happen again.”

Mrs Hanson now has the opportunity to appeal against the verdict.

 

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