A mobile phone signal may be a step closer to returning in Brentwood – months after masts were removed from an office block undergoing redevelopment.
Residents have been struggling with poor service after masts for the four national mobile network operators – Vodafone, O2, EE and Three – were removed in June from the top of Ewing House on Kings Road, even though mobile phone operators had known for almost two years that the masts would be taken down.
When the masts were removed, an emergency mast was put up near Brentwood Station but it did not provide sufficient coverage.
People living as far away as Hartswood Road have reported a drop-off in signal.
Brentwood Borough Council accepts that criticism is being levelled at the council for the situation but has said the fault lies entirely with the mobile phone operators.
Councillor Chris Hossack, leader of Brentwood Council, told ordinary council that the council is awaiting structural tests on Masefield Court so that it can approve a risk assessment for temporary masts for EE and Three.
The council is still in discussion for a Vodafone and O2 temporary mast on Pastoral Way.
All four operators are yet to receive planning permission for permanent masts in the area.
An application from Vodafone/O2 to Brentwood Borough Council in December 2019 for a mast on Pastoral Way and Coptfold Road was refused in January 2020 because of its “unacceptable siting and appearance”.
A revised prior notification application for installation of telecommunications apparatus on Coptfold Road by Vodafone/O2 was refused again in June 2020.
An application for a permanent mast at Masefield Court from EE and Three was also refused July 2020 for its “unacceptable siting and appearance”.
Cllr Hossack said: We have started this week a bore hole being drilled into the roof of Masefield Court where all the equipment and ancillaries would go.
“So there is a wait for that and the assessment needs to ascertain that the building will physically take the weight so that is what is happening this week.
“Once that has been ascertained we can start to get that temporary solution in place and hopefully restore the signal to that part of Brentwood.”