Car dealer furious over ‘eyesore’ mast

Craig Cooper (right) of Thorntons Auto Centre and protestors
Craig Cooper (right) of Thorntons Auto Centre and protestors
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A FYLDE coast 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 the workers of the company.

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.

Mr Wilson, 50, 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.”

And Ben Wallace, the MP for Wyre and Preston North, said: “It’s unacceptable in this proposition.

“We’re not only raising this with the planners, but the telephone operators.

“To put it on a pavement is just not acceptable. Footpaths should be for pedestrians. It’s thoughtless and clumsy.”

Auto centre landlord Jonathan Adstead added: “If it was built where it was I think its dangerous for community.

“It is blocking sales for the cars, but it is also a dangerous place to put it. If you’re nudging out of that site you don’t want to obscure the view of traffic coming down.”

Planning and architectural consultants, Graham Anthony Socialites, helped to make a formal objection statement saying the mast would directly impact in front of clients’ retail sales frontage, causing detriment to the visual amenity and character of existing sales frontage and street scene.

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 and appearance of the mast before it is erected.

A Wyre Council spokesman said: “Having consulted with Lancashire County Council as the highways authority, 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 for the council to insist on it to be moved to an alternative location.”

Vodafone Ltd was unavailable for comment as The Gazette went to press.