Mobile phone giant O2 has this week submitted a formal appeal in its bid to build a five metre tall phone mast on top of Burnham-On-Sea’s Ritz Cinema.

Burnham-On-Sea.com first reported in 2007 that O2 had submitted an application to build the mast, disguised as a flag pole, and three antennae on the roof of the town’s cinema in Victoria Street, pictured, in order to introduce fast 3G mobile Internet coverage across the town.

Although members of Burnham’s Planning Applications Committee gave their approval to the proposals in July 2008, the final decision rested with Sedgemoor District Council, which turned down the application last August.

Its case officer Chris Gomm said the “incongruous and alien” phone mast would be out of place in the town centre.

He added: “The building is of architectural and historic importance to the town and the site is within the designated town centre Conservation Area. The proposed rooftop telecommunications mast does not satisfactorily mimic a flag staff. The proposed mast is to be sited in a highly visible position and would be an incongruous and alien feature to the detriment of both the building and surrounding Conservation Area.”

But O2 has not given up and Burnham-On-Sea.com learns the phone giant has submitted an appeal in a bid to overturn the decision. It had six months from the date of Sedgemoor’s decision to submit the appeal.

The Planning Inspectorate has begun reviewing the case and is expected to make a final judgement on whether the scheme can go ahead in the summer.

 
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