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More pain for Lancaster mobile phone users as signal problems persist following fire

Crews working at the site of the fire on the Lune Industrial Estate in Lancaster. Image from Lancashire Fire and Rescue.

Lancaster residents continue to have problems with their mobile phone signal and a massive industrial estate fire has only made the situation worse, says the city's MP.

Cat Smith has called for telecoms company O2 to find a solution after damage to a mast on the Lune Industrial Estate.

The mast, fixed to the chimney of the former A1 Supa Skips site building, was vandalised at the vacant former skip hire site earlier this year.

Now following a major fire at the site, which firefighters have been tackling for weeks, Ms Smith said she fears the masts will never be fixed, causing more pain for mobile phone users, particularly in the Marsh area of Lancaster.

She said O2 had told her it was unsafe for engineers to access the site to carry out repairs and that the mast had been out of service since May 2023.

An O2 spokesperson told Beyond Radio: “We apologise to any customers in the Marsh area of Lancaster who may be experiencing intermittent issues with the service.

"We are working closely with our infrastructure partner, Vodafone, and other relevant third parties to fully restore services as soon as possible, following a recent fire and vandalism causing damage to a phone mast.

"Other masts in the area are still providing service.”

Amy Stanning, a resident who lives near the site, told Beyond Radio: "People have been complaining for months, if not longer, about poor signal.

"Clearly people are having real difficulty with their communications."

Ms Smith (pictured below) wrote to the company in October, saying there had been a rise in "pests and rodents, thefts and vandalism including to the cabling serving the O2 masts" at the site.

She has asked O2 to find a new site for the masts "as it was increasingly clear that they would not be able to fix the masts at the current site due to the ongoing legal and safety challenges".

More than 100 residents who were customers of O2 have made complaints and sought compensation since they began having problems with their service over the summer.

Ms Smith said this had "some positive results".

"But we need a long term fix to the very poor mobile signal in the area, along with tackling the actual environmental hazard at the site," she said.

"Now, my worst fears have been realised, in that following the huge fire at the site, it is now almost a certainty that the O2 masts will now not be fixed.

"I didn’t even get a reply to my last letter in October, despite following this up in November before the fire. But given the impact the blaze has had on the site, I have written once again to O2 to demand that they seek new masts in the area."

In her latest letter, Ms Smith suggested that they reach out to Lancaster Cricket Club as a possible new site for masts.

Meanwhile firefighters have begun to scale down their operations at the site of the fire, almost three weeks after the blaze broke out on December 3.

Buildings had to be demolished at the site due to safety fears and to allow crews better access allowing them to get the fire under control.

Read more: Crews at Lancaster skips site ‘confident fire will be out by end of week’ - Beyond Radio

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