WOODFALLS residents are up in arms after a "cock-up" by Wiltshire Council has allowed a mobile phone mast to be put up in the village despite it being refused by planning chiefs.

They noticed work starting on the mast at Ridge Farm near Highfield Lane on Friday, October 6. A meeting of Redlynch Parish Council on Tuesday last week heard Wiltshire Council was "a day late" in informing the applicant of the refusal in the allotted 56 days.

The parish council chairman, Cllr Kate Budworth, said: "I know it is not very satisfactory and not a result for yourselves tonight, we feel as strongly as you do. It is an application we refused in the past, we don't have planning decision authority we are merely a consultee as are a number of other people. We will voice concerns and pursue it on your behalf.

"We will try and hold someone to account as well."

She said: "We will certainly be banging on the door of the council."

Concerns were raised over the health affects as well as the negative impact on house prices.

The meeting heard one family had already lost the sale of their property when the buyer pulled out after being told the mast was going up and another resident said the value of his property had gone down.

One member of the public said: "When you make a foul up like this the least thing you can do is to tell people and apologise for it."

Adding: "It is not just one mistake, it is a catalogue of errors that cannot be excused."

She also said Vodafone was "treading on local democracy".

In its reasons for refusing the application Wiltshire Council said the height of the mast and the close proximity to homes would be "visually prominent and oppressive, and therefore harmful, to the amenity of nearby residential properties" .

Speaking after the meeting resident John Kent said "due process" had been followed, adding: "To be where we are now on a technicality, for me the morals of Vodafone and the landowners should come into play."

And villager Matt Johnson said: "It is absolutely destroying how we feel about where we live.

"The council has cocked up and someone has to pay."

He said he was in "disbelief" when he found out the mast was going up. "It needs to be thrown out."

Another resident added: "Tax payers have paid for them [Wiltshire Council] to do their job and they have let us down."

Residents are looking into taking legal action against Wiltshire Council.

A spokesman for Vodafone said: "Vodafone identified that they need to improve coverage to their customers in Woodfalls and submitted a planning application for a base station at Ridge Farm. This base station will provide 2G, 3G and 4G services to the local area.

"Under planning law, the local planning authority have a set time to refuse permission for this type of development. After that time period has elapsed and if no response is sent approval is deemed to have been granted. In this case Vodafone has deemed consent to build the mast at Ridge Farm, which will provide network services for Vodafone customers."

The Journal has also contacted Wiltshire Council for comment.