A PHONE mast will be built next to a nursery because blundering council bosses rejected the plans a day late.

And neighbours - who worked tirelessly to fight the plans - only discovered the error when building work was announced this week.

Redbridge Council's oversight now means the 12.5m phone past in Hermon Hill, Wanstead, is being built anyway.

Officers have 56 day window to reject an application or it automatically goes through – but in this instance did it on the 57th day.

Minh Tran led what he thought was a successful campaign blocking the mast back in March which over 100 people objected to over radiation fears.

The 40-year-old said: “I am absolutely furious, I am so angry. It is completely unbelievable.

“As a result of the council’s gross incompetence, all the people who objected are going to be ignored. It is very frustrating that such a simple thing as timely response to an application was not adhered to.

“This is going to go through on a technicality because someone didn’t do their job. The council has seriously let residents down with this stupid and unbelievable oversight.”

While Mr Tran is prepared to fight these plans with lawyers, he fears it is a done deal.

He says all his hard work, including leafletting and gathering signatures for a petition against the mast, was in vain.

Mr Tran only discovered the council error when he received a leaflet through his door last week, saying there would be telecommunications work in the area.

The Nelson Road resident was then surprised to see what looked like a “hideous” 6ft telecoms cabinet opposite Little Diamonds Nursery, with a warning sign more works were to be carried out.

He is now considering getting radiation surveys done but says in the long term he may move out of Wanstead altogether, even though he loves the area.

Karrien Stevens, director of Little Diamonds Nursery opposite the mast site, said she was “horrified” to find out it was going to be built anyway.

She said: “We are extremely upset and disappointed.

“The bottom line is we will have to notify our parents and it will undoubtedly mean some of them chose not to send their children to us anymore.

“It’s going to have a hugely negative impact on our business.

“We will do whatever we can to fight this, because this is the health of babies and young children we are dealing with.”

In a statement, construction company Galliford Try admitted they are building the mast this Thursday and Friday, despite the council rejecting their proposals.

A spokesman said: “GallifordTry Telecoms are in the process of installing a new mobile telecom cell site on behalf of Telefonica.

“The works consist of the installation of a 12.5m monopole to house the radio antennas in conjunction with a ground based equipment cabinet.”

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: "We objected to the installation of the telephone mast on the grounds of visual impact.

"Unfortunately, due to a technicality, the decision was issued two days late and the telecoms company received automatic approval under central Government’s generous permitted development rules.

"The company was made aware of the council’s objections at the time, giving plenty of time to consider other designs and locations.

"However the company has gone ahead and begun constructing the mast despite our and local residents’ concerns.

"We have made our objections clear to the company, we feel they should take their corporate and social responsibility seriously and reconsider whether they should build the mast."