Residents in Barnes protested an attempted installation of a telephone mast this morning (February 21).

Families gathered on Verdun Road, to prevent a new 15 metre telecomms mast from being installed.

According to residents, this mast was set to replace the current one, which is 12 metres.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Residents blocked the road in protest this morning © Twitter.

The new mast was measured at 15.5 metres, which is higher than the permitted 15 metres.

In 2015, Vodafone and O2 installed a dual-use mast. However, residents were told that the companies have split and Telefonica, who run O2, are apparently trying to put a new system put in, under the pretext of an upgrade.

Lucy Hawking, who was at the protest said: "There has been no consultation about this and it appears the planning department of the council did not receive notification.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Workers left at around 1:35 with the mast. © Twitter.

"The street protest has grown and the owners of the Harrodian school, who were also not informed, have also come to join the protest.

"We have informed our councillor Rita Farmer and also our MP Zac Goldsmith as well as lodging planning enforcement complaints on the LBRUT website.

"The mast is higher than the permitted height of 15 metres, we measured the new mast on the truck and it is 15.5 metres, it is bright silver. The original application was for a wood coloured mast to blend in with the surrounding trees and it is effectively doubling the capacity."

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

O2 allegedly tried to install a mast that broke planning permission terms. © Twitter.

Raphael, another resident who was at the protest, tweeted at the time, writing: "Residents are preventing a new 15 meters heigh telecomms mast from being installed on Verdun Rd this morning.

"The new mast will increase capacity and residents claim will turn the Castelnau estate to a huge microwave.

"Residents won today’s battle, the new mast it being taken away from the site."

The protest started early this morning and finished at around 1.35pm when workers took the mast away.

An O2 spokesperson said: "Telefónica (O2) is working to improve coverage for its customers in the Barnes area.  

"A notification for the proposed works on Verdun Road was submitted to the local planning authority."