A STEP forward has been taken in a bid to stop mobile phone giant O2 from building a phone mast on Shoreditch Road.

Taunton Deane Council is planning to take out a discontinuance notice against the O2 mast in Shoreditch Road, but in order to do so it needs to get planning permission granted for an alternative site.

Following consultations with the council's telecommunications consultant and planning officer the council has found an alternative mast site that would serve the same area as the existing mast, but it would be in an area of land adjacent to the motorway, surrounded by trees, instead of in a street.

The application has been registered and a consultation will begin in the next few days, with the application hopefully completed in eight weeks.

Once a decision has been made, the planning committee will be able to consider serving a discontinuance order on O2 for the Shoreditch Road mast, in the knowledge of the like compensation claim O2 might make.

Cllr John Williams, leader of the council, said: "As an authority we have committed ourselves to robustly pursue this issue with the ultimate aim of having the mast relocated to a more suitable site.

"It is sad that a major company has shown such gross insensitivity to the local community, and used its power to attempt to bulldoze its way through the system without listening to the genuine concerns of the local community and of this authority.

"I understand the concerns and frustrations of the community, but I can assure them that we are doing all that is essential to ensure that, when we do take action against the mast owner, it will be affective."