A BLUNDER by Solihull Council has allowed a telecoms giant to press ahead with a mobile phone mast, incensing residents in Castle Bromwich.
In 2006, planning chiefs had thrown out an application by T-Mobile to install the mast on Bradford Road. But the local authority failed to notify the firm of the decision within 56 days.
Three years later and the company has seized on the loophole and residents could only watch in horror as workmen installed the transmitter.
This week the council apologised to angry locals - but is powerless to act against T-Mobile since the mast is completely legal.
Councillor Stuart Davis, chairman of the planning sub committee, said: “We apologise and would like to assure people that we have already put in place measures to ensure that this does not happen again.
“We have asked T-Mobile to suspend works to install the mast and work with us to find an alternative site but they have declined to do so.”
The Bradford Road mast had faced fierce opposition - almost 150 residents had signed a petition against the proposals when they were first announced.
Now protesters have written to their MP Caroline Spelman (Con, Meriden) who will be taking the matter up with the Local Government Ombudsman.
An identical council blunder outraged people in the Hillfield area in 2007 after a mast was put up on the corner of Widney Manor Road. That incident had also been referred to the Ombudsman, who eventually decided that locals had not suffered an injustice.