AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a temporary phone mast was installed before permission had been granted.

Mobile network giant EE put up the structure in Church Lane, Bocking last week while it awaited news on its plan to install a permanent 30-metre mast in the same place.

Those plans have now been refused by Braintree Council’s planning committee and EE must either appeal against the decision or submit a new application in order to gain permission for its new structure.

However, the firm could find itself in hot water after Braintree Council’s enforcement team launched an investigation into the temporary mast which has already been installed.

The authority was informed of the new addition by residents in Bocking, who are also strongly opposed to plans for the permanent mast.

Resident Debbie Dawson said: “I’m out at work in the week so haven’t seen it because it’s dark when I’m back home. I woke up at the weekend and looked out my window and it was right in my view.

“It’s an absolute eyesore.

“There is so much opposition to this but they just seem to do what they want and ignore what we think.

“I don’t hold out much hope it will be taken down.

“They could easily have found somewhere else to put it up. As it is, we don’t even think it is in the right place.”

A Braintree Council spokesman confirmed officers are investigating whether EE requires planning permission for the temporary structure.

If it is necessary, it is likely the council will take action against the firm and order the mast to be removed.

Councillors were meanwhile scathing of EE’s plan to install a permanent mast when they refused the application during Tuesday’s planning meeting.

EE argues it needs to build the new structure because its current equipment in the area will be lost when the building it is attached to is demolished.

Planning officers had recommended the scheme be refused due to concerns the mast would be “intrusive” and councillors agreed, unanimously voting against the plans.

David Mann, Braintree councillor representing Bocking North, said: “Overtly prominent and visually intrusive is I think an understatement.

“If you could think of a worse place for a mast this kind I think you would be hard pushed to find one.”

Councillor Gabrielle Spray added: “It does look pretty awful.

“This is just huge and there has to be somewhere better for it to go.”

EE says the mast has been put up on an emergency basis to ensure connectivity is maintained while a permanent solution is found.