November 2020 – April 2021
Reconnect Brentwood update Friday 18 June: The Mobile Phone Mast Saga – one year on
I believe Walden Telecom (for EE and Hutchison 3G) are liaising with Brentwood Council about putting a temporary mast on top of the penthouse flats on Masefield Court, but I haven’t seen any sign of anything actually happening. Vodafone & O2 subscribers should also get temporary masts on Coptfold Green near the multistorey and Pastoral Way, Warley. Again, no date for installation yet.
I have submitted the following question for the next Full Council meeting on Wednesday 28th July:
“It is now one year since the mobile phone masts were removed from Ewing House and there is still no sign of the promised (temporary) replacements. As the re-development of Ewing House is now complete, will the mast(s) now be replaced there?
When can mobile phone users expect to be re-connected to a functioning service?”
I await a reply!
Reconnect Brentwood update Thursday 29 April
The last update talked about progress. Despite assurances in March that something was finally happening, we are still waiting for the Council and mobile phone companies. Unfortunately, there is still no equipment in place and we still struggle to get any kind of signal.
I am still awaiting feedback from the Council on the tests carried out in March to see if Masefield Court, in Victoria Road, can take the weight of a permanent mobile phone mast. I keep my fingers firmly crossed and hope to see an EE/Three mast taking shape soon. However, this will not be sufficient to cover the whole town centre area or, probably, many Vodafone/O2 customers. Two temporary masts at Pastoral Way and on the green at Coptfold Road are still being finalised by the Council. There are currently no plans for what happens after 18 months, when they will have to be removed.
We need immediate action – get the first mast in, then make a reasonable deal for new masts in places where we do not have to sacrifice green space to sort this problem, which they have had years to fix.
As you may already have seen from my leaflets, I am standing as a Labour candidate for Brentwood Borough Council in Brentwood South ward AND Essex County Council in Brentwood South division, which also includes Warley and Brentwood West. If elected on Thursday 6th May, I shall pursue this campaign with vigour as a member of the Council. I will not let you down either way!
Reconnect Brentwood update Wednesday 17 March
Progress at last!
After eight months struggling with only a minimal mobile signal, I can report some good news. EE and Three customers will be pleased to know that a borehole is being drilled in the roof of Masefield Court, Victoria Road on 18/19 March by the mobile operator to check if the roof is strong enough to take the load of all the equipment needed in addition to the mobile mast. Once it has been confirmed that the roof can take the equipment, and the flats below have not suffered damage, installation of the boxes, masts and electrical connections will begin. However, the Council do not have a timescale for this yet. They have assured us that the Health and Safety Officer is monitoring all health and safety procedures.
The Council are close to agreement with “another mobile operator” – probably Vodafone/O2 – for temporary masts on Coptfold Road Green, next to the multi-storey car park, and on Pastoral Way – as you enter from Warley Hill on the left by the trees. This is for 18 months, without the need for planning consent. On Pastoral Way, they are waiting for the mobile operator to drill a borehole to check the ground is suitable. The Council are seeking to reach agreement with the companies to find alternative permanent sites, as the masts in Coptfold Road and Pastoral Way are in particularly visible and sensitive areas.
Why not also have a look at my other campaign on the website: Jam Today! We are still selling my friend Richard’s delicious home-made jam and marmalade to raise money for the Daily Bread café and foodbank. £5 a jar donation, plus an empty jar to re-fill.
Thank you for your support and best wishes,
Reconnect Brentwood update 9 February 2021
I wrote on 28 December to the CEO’s of all the main mobile ‘phone providers, enclosing a copy of the petition, which, at that stage had been signed by 402 residents (it has now reached 457). I hoped that the man at the top (they are all men!) would be able to put a rocket under the process.
As there was still no sign of any work taking place, I asked at the Council Meeting on 20 January what progress had been made and could the Leader give me a date when we would all be reconnected. He was sorry he couldn’t do so. The mast on Masefield Court had been approved, but the Council were still waiting for the telecomms companies to submit safety risk assessments. The appeal from O2 and Vodafone has not been settled yet.
I have received replies from the Service Managers at Phone Co-op (my provider), BT(EE), O2 Telefonica and Vodafone, apologising for the interruption to their services. 3G(Hutchison) have not replied. O2 Telefonica said they were in the “process of seeking agreement from the Council …. (this is) slower than we would like”. They promised to talk to the MP if suitable progress is not made and gave details of their complaints procedure.
The most informative reply was from BT(EE), dated 21.1.21, relating to the application at Masefield Court. They explained that the planning application had been refused by the Council and an appeal had also been lost. They had “not (been) made aware of any residents of Masefield Court …. opposing the planning application.” This had finally been approved in December and they were “aiming to begin construction this month”, with an official date to go “on air” in March. They were “doing everything possible to speed this up and hope we can bring this forward to February”. Still no sign of anything happening!
Seven months after the mast was removed from Ewing House, Brentwood residents still have no reliable mobile signal. If you have not yet complained to your ‘phone company, I suggest you do so. If we all contact the MP as well, perhaps we can get some satisfaction.
Reconnect Brentwood UPDATE 5 January 2021
Many thanks to the 407 people who have signed my petition for urgent replacement of the mobile phone masts near Brentwood station. I have written to the Chief Executives of the 4 main mobile operators, and to the CEO of Brentwood Council, sent Recorded Delivery, on 28th December 2020.
Below is a copy of that sent to EE, all are similar. No replies have been received to date, but I shall not let this rest.
“To the Chief Executive,
I am writing to you, and to the CEOs of the other mobile operators (Three, O2 and Vodafone) on behalf of many frustrated Brentwood residents who have suffered for the past 6 months without a reliable mobile ‘phone signal.
Since the beginning of July 2020 the mobile signal in our area has been weak and keeps cutting out mid-conversation. I thought at first there was a problem with my ‘phone, until I read an article in the Brentwood Gazette dated 21st October. The mobile masts used by EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, had been removed from Ewing House, Kings Road, Brentwood, due to a re-development and not replaced. The companies had been informed in 2018 that the masts must be taken down by 30th June 2020, but in 2 years had not managed to get planning permission from Brentwood Council for new ones. A temporary mast was erected near Brentwood station, but this has proved totally inadequate. I understand that agreement was reached with Brentwood Council on 30th November for a temporary mast for EE and Three on the roof of Masefield Court, Brentwood, which will last for 18 months. There is no sign of this mast yet.
I therefore decided to set up my Reconnect Brentwood Campaign and have attached a copy of the online petition, with 402 signatures collected between 24th November and 22nd December 2020.
I understand that the mobile ‘phone companies have a legal duty to provide and maintain a reliable service to their customers. It is clear that you are unable to do so in the current circumstances. I should be grateful if you would do everything in your power to resolve the problem and to ensure that full service is resumed as soon as possible.
With grateful thanks for your assistance.
Reconnect Brentwood UPDATE 14 December 2020
Following a Public Question I put to the Leader at the last Brentwood Council meeting, I can report that a temporary mobile ‘phone mast, for EE and Three, has been approved for the roof of Masefield Court, in Victoria Road, for a maximum period of 18 months – though there is no sign of it yet. Planning permission will be needed to make it permanent – Council are expecting to receive a new application soon.
Council are still in discussion with Clarke Telecomm – for Vodafone and O2 – re the Coptfold Road site and for a temporary mast in Pastoral Way.
Please sign my petition to the ‘phone companies and Brentwood Council by 14th December, so we can put more pressure on them to get things moving, at https://susankortlandt.org/wp/campaigns/reconnect-brentwood/
Reconnect Brentwood Campaign November 2020
If, like me, you are still suffering from a virtually non-existent mobile ‘phone signal, please sign this petition, calling on all the mobile ‘phone operators and Brentwood Borough Council to resolve the problem and to RECONNECT BRENTWOOD.
All the mobile ‘phone companies, which had their masts on the roof of Ewing House, Kings Road, have known for 2 years that they must remove them in June 2020, yet they have so far failed to provide replacements. Negotiations are apparently continuing with Brentwood Council over the siting of new masts – this could take many months. Meanwhile, there is only one inadequate temporary mast by Brentwood Station.
I hope this petition will put pressure on all parties to resolve the issue URGENTLY.
Please sign before December 14 2020 – I will then submit the petition to to the mobile ‘phone operators EE, O2, Three, Vodafone and Brentwood Borough Council.
Susan Kortlandt, 130 Warley Hill, Brentwood, CM14 5HB.