COUNCIL bosses have admitted that an administrative blunder could open the way for a controversial mobile phone mast in Nantwich, despite furious opposition from local residents.

Protesters gathered this week at the proposed mast site on Peter Destapleigh Way, in Stapeley, to highlight their campaign.

The 15-metre mast could be erected yards from Pear Tree Primary School, attended by more than 200 children aged 4 to 11.

The mobile phone giant had its first bid to build a 14.3m-high telecom mast and antenna rejected in April last year.

Residents were angry that it would be based just over the road from the school, putting children in direct contact with the phone signals.

Vodafone then teamed up with O2 in the hope that a second mast application in the same spot would be approved. That was rejected in March this year.

But due to an ‘administration error’ by the council, the refusal notice for the original mast application in 2009 was not served on the applicant in time.

This means that Mono Consultants, on behalf of Vodafone and O2, now have deemed consent and could go forward with the plan.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: “This application, which was received by the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, was determined by Cheshire East Council on April 7, 2009.

“The decision notice advising refusal was processed in good time by the case officer.

“Unfortunately, due to an administration error, the notice was not received by the applicant until one day after the statutory expiry date of April 16, 2009. As such, the mast had deemed consent.

“No mast has been erected to date and we continue to work with the applicant to examine alternatives to find a mutually agreeable solution.”