We’ve had some enquiries about the sudden appearance of a mobile phone mast at a location on the south side of the A25 going towards Westerham, near Broomlands Lane. Below is a statement issued by OLRG with their current understanding of the situation. We will publish any updates as necessary.

OLRG: “Under permitted development rights in England, an emergency (communications) mast can be erected by a telecoms company for a period of 18 months in order for operators to secure an alternative permanent site to ensure coverage in an area is maintained.   

Telecoms companies do not need to obtain permission from the local authority, but are required to give written notice of such development as soon as possible after the emergency begins.
Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL) Waldon, currently have a mast erected at the Moorhouse Sandpits however, apparently due to works needing to be carried out at the Sandpits,  this mast now needs to be removed.  The telecoms company have been aware of this situation for over 18 months.  

In May this year, the telecoms company received permission, on appeal, for a permanent mast to be sited at the lay-by on the A25 close to the Moorhouse Sandpits to provide a permanent solution to the loss of the existing mast, but so far, they have not erected this replacement mast.

At the beginning of August, MBNL began works to erect an emergency mobile phone mast at the location on the south side of the A25.  The site is highly visible, in the Green Belt and in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.   

After the work had commenced, the telecoms company issued an emergency notice to Tandridge District Council informing them of the temporary installation, which they state is required to prevent a loss of service or network disruption, following the loss of the mast at the Moorhouse Sandpits, whilst a permanent solution is secured. 

Therefore Tandridge District Council has issued an emergency stop notice whilst further talks take place with the telecoms company MBNL to ascertain if this is indeed an emergency situation, given that the permission for the replacement permanent mast was allowed on appeal in May this year.”

We will keep a close eye on this situation working with Tandridge District Council and our District Councillors and will issue any updates.