Dec 1 2011 Hamilton Advertiser
CONTRACTORS working near a controversial Hamilton phone mast were rapped – following complaints by residents.
The workmen, contracted by BT, were laying ducting to the 45ft mast and base station erected in July by O2 and Vodafone in Earnock Road. The work was done earlier this month.
However, residents complained barriers erected around the work site blocked off the pavement and entrance to the nature trail.
There was also concern about the work site proximity to the school crossing patrol. And they complained no alternative route was set up for pedestrians and no traffic lights were put in place even though contractors’ vehicles later obstructed the pavement and road.
Ken Neeson, chairman of Earnock Residents’ Association, spoke to the workmen then lodged a complaint with South Lanarkshire Council who immediately sent an inspector to the site.
A spokesman for the council said “He discovered that (workmen) did not have the correct signing and guarding and had not followed the correct notification procedure.
“They were issued with a fixed penalty notice and told to make the site safe and leave within four hours.”
Later, a BT spokesman said the work had been carried out by their contractors.
He explained that the staff were excavating an area for the installation of ducting but insisted the council had “found no problems with the signage and guarding.”
The spokesman added: “The fixed penalty notice was issued to the contractors because when they requested permission to carry out the work they classed it as urgent when it should have been classed as non-urgent. The request was considered non-compliant.”
Mr Neeson was unhappy with the attitude of staff on site and added: “We found them arrogant. They turned up and started to excavate the pavement from the kerbside near the nature trail towards the mast.
“They put up barriers forcing people either out on to what is a busy road or across the grass where they had to negotiate the contractor’s vehicles.
“We warned them that children from Townhill Primary would be coming out at 3pm and that many of them crossed Earnock Road, near to where they had dug up the pavement.
“We felt this to be potentially dangerous but we were told we had to get off the site because of health and safety.”
Mr Neeson said he spoke to staff at Townhill Primary who had received no warning the work was to take place.”
Mr Neeson said the workmen left the site about 4.30pm that day, November 15.
It’s the latest twist in the long-running row concerning the phone mast. Residents complained it was too close to the Townhill School crossing and near to the site of the triple-fatal accident at Dalton Hill in January, 2009. In all, 242 objections were lodged.
Councillors refused planning permission last May. The decision was overturned by a Scottish Government reporter, following an inquiry.