Published: August 26, 2009
Exclusive: O2 phone mast in Burnham town centre will stay in position

This mobile phone mast in the centre of Burnham-On-Sea will remain in its current position for at least a further nine months, the Planning Inspectorate has ruled this week.

The 15 metre tall mast, which is mounted on a portable trailer, was first installed at the rear of Somerfields, which is now a Morrisons store, in May 2007 after O2 was forced to remove its mast in nearby Marine Drive.

The company applied to Sedgemoor District Council for full planning permission to retain the mast for a longer period while it looked for a permanent site in the Burnham area, but Sedgemoor planners turned down the application.

O2 then appealed against the decision and the Planning Inspectorate held a public inquiry earlier this summer.

However, he appeal's inspector, Tim Belcher, has this week ruled in favour of O2 and concluded the appeal should succeed.

A condition has been placed on O2 so that the mast be removed within nine months if planning permission is granted for a new proposed mast on top of Burnham's Ritz Cinema or 18 months from the date of this week's permission, whichever is the earlier.

"In my view this is an acceptable mechanism to ensure a continuity of service is provided in Burnham," said Mr Belcher.

"If permission for the Ritz Cinema proposal is refused, O2 confirmed that they would require 18 months to make alternative arrangements to provide coverage in the relevant parts of Burnham."

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