THE council has now admitted it was late in responding to a request to erect a mobile phone mast.

O2 wanted to put up the 15 metre mast in Markhouse Road, Walthamstow, and the council had 56 days to approve or reject the application. It decided to reject it. But at a public meeting it emerged that it was four days late in notifying O2, despite previously denying any delay. A council officer admitted the council had made a mistake when he was speaking at a Walthamstow and Lea Bridge Community Council meeting.

He said: "The application was sent back and received four days after the deadline and by that time it was late.

"This means O2 is allowed to put up the mast. We are trying to talk to O2 to see if there is a possibility of its being removed or replaced." A resident claimed he had been disturbed by work at 4am by n workmen.Cllr Keith Rayner said: "Is anybody else thinking this is a noise nuisance case? I will meet with councillors again and we will set up what legal proceedings we will need and will work to resolve this within three or four weeks."

Cllr Afzal Akram said the issue needed to be discussed by the council's cabinet. Residents are pressing for an injunction because they fear the mast will be working by the end of the month, claimed mobile phone mast campaigner, Trevor Calver, of Larkshall Road, Highams Park.

An O2 spokesman said there were no plans to remove the mast.