THURROCK Council’s planning committee had time to discuss four applications before being evacuated by a fire alarm.

Councillors refused to grant the owners of The Gables, in Brentwood Road, Bulphan, permission to knock down their existing home and replace it with a five bedroom house.

The committee heard from a neighbour who was opposed to the plan, and the owner herself, who said she and her husband needed a bigger place as they both have disabilities and need their daughter to move in.

Planning chairman Cllr Terry Hipsey told the owners that while the committee was sympathetic to their situation, an extension of the property’s floorspace by 240 per cent was not acceptable.

There was an application by T Mobile and Orange for a new phone mast on land adjacent to Claudian Way in Chadwell St Mary.

The committee heard from Labour ward councillor Gerard Rice, who said it would be in a dangerous location.

Cllr Rice said: “This mast would be 48ft in height and I feel that is unacceptable. This is a busy road and the last thing we want is drivers rubber-necking looking at this monstrosity.”

Cllr Hipsey also felt the mast’s location on a busy road was asking for trouble.

He said: “This is in close proximity to a cemetery which I find obtrusive, as well as a recreation ground. Should a vehicle collide with this, it could cause a danger to oncoming vehicles or pedestrians.”

When it came to voting the committee was split, with four councillors in favour of the mast, four against and one abstention.

Cllr Hipsey used his casting vote for the mast to be refused.

Two applications for temporary mobile classrooms at Purfleet Primary and Little Thurrock Primary were approved.