Long-delayed phone mast finally goes live after 18-month wait

Norman Lamb is celebrating a phone mast finally going live in North Walsham. Photo: UK Parliament

Norman Lamb is celebrating a phone mast finally going live in North Walsham. Photo: UK Parliament - Credit: UK Parliament

Residents in parts of a Norfolk town will find their phone signals much improved after a long-delayed mast finally went live.

Some people in North Walsham have received virtually no mobile phone signal for years.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb previously called the delays to a telecommunications mast becoming operational as "totally unacceptable" and he raised the issue in Parliament.

But the new mast is now hosting Vodafone and O2 signals, and people in the Marshgate, Brick Kiln Road and Spa Common areas of the town, are celebrating.

Mr Lamb said: "I'm very glad that the new phone mast has gone live. For many residents, being able to use your mobile phone is an essential part of life. Now - finally - people who live near the Brick Kiln Estate and Spa Common will be able to receive phone signal.

"Obviously, this has taken far too long. It is wholly inadequate that the mast has been standing but not in operation for nearly 18 months.

"But I'm happy that the mast is up and running."

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In June 2017 a planning application was approved for a mast on an Anglian Water site at Marshgate.

However, despite the mast being erected by December 2017, significant delays ensued in getting the mast connected and operational.

Mr Lamb and North Walsham councillor Eric Seward met BT Openreach, who were responsible for the mast's connectivity, in November 2018. In this meeting Openreach accepted that the delay had gone on for too long.

Then in March 2019, Mr Lamb raised the issue of the delay in the House of Commons.

Mr Seward, Norfolk County and North Norfolk District Councillor for the area, said: "After a long battle, improved mobile phone coverage has arrived. "I am very pleased for residents who have had to put up with poor mobile phone reception for far too long. This is a very significant improvement to amenities in North Walsham."

Openreach previously apologised for the work taking so long. A spokesman said it had been delayed due to difficulties obtaining permission to work on adjacent private land to lay a new cable.