Residents ‘shocked’ at surprise appearance of 66ft mobile phone mast

The mast outside QE2 hospital

The mast outside QE2 hospital - Credit: Archant

Residents have hit out at the unannounced arrival of a 66ft mobile phone mast that towers above their homes.

The mast towers over houses in Howlands

The mast towers over houses in Howlands - Credit: Archant

The metal structure was erected in Welwyn Garden City along Howlands on September 2 after an O2 mast at the nearby QE2 Hospital was decommissioned, which would have meant mobile phone users’ reception would have suffered.

But householders are unhappy with the temporary telecommunications rig, with one describing it as an “abomination”.

He said: “They just turned up and put it here. The council want them to take it down. We were never told what was happening.

“We didn’t know what it was until they put the top section up.”

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Another neighbour, who also would only be quoted on the condition of anonymity, said: “I was shocked when I saw it.”

However other Howlands residents were more sympathetic to the mast, and did not mind its surprise appearance.

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Welwyn Hatfield Council is investigating as it has been erected on land it owns, and hopes to get it removed.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We were made aware of it [last] Friday.

“It’s an O2 mast. We have been out and inspected it and we are investigating it with a view to having it removed.”

She added: “Discussions are currently ongoing with O2.”

Phone companies have emergency powers to erect telefonica sites when they have decommissioned facilities.

It is unknown if the temporary mast is active, as construction workers were interrupted while they were working on it.

An O2 spokesman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times it was working with the borough to address issues raised by residents.

He said: “We are having to decommission a site on the roof of the nearby QE2 Hospital and to ensure we maintain coverage for our customers in the area, we have erected a temporary site at Howlands while we seek a permanent solution.

“We have had a number of comments from the local council and are working with the council to address these.”

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