A monumental cock-up by Harrow Council has left hundreds of Pinner residents fuming about plans for two phone masts.
Having petitioned against proposals to place the eyesores in Rayners Lane and St Thomas' Drive, neighbours were given the backing of the council when it refused the applications.
But officers in the planning department failed to tell Orange and Vodafone, the companies behind the plans, about the decision in time, meaning the masts can be put up anyway.
Staff at the council have been forced to write to a whole host of angry residents apologising for the error, after they notified the company a day too late, despite having 56 days to let them know.
Peter Miller, who lives opposite the site in Rayners Lane, is livid about the error.
The 59-year-old said: "This is sheer and utter incompetence, how on earth can this kind of thing happen?
"I work in the private sector where this kind of gross negligence would result in heads rolling and probably someone being sued.
"For residents it means the loss of amenity and the reduction in property prices but the real danger is that this could have been a much bigger application.
"I want reassurances that something is being done to stop this situation now and that procedures are being put in place to prevent similar mistakes in the future.
"A letter of apology doesn't quite cut it."
According to planning guidelines other types of applications would not be given default consent in similar circumstances and councillor Marilyn Ashton (Con), responsible for planning, assured the Observer this would not happen with any application in the future.
She said: "Harrow Council accepts full responsibility and apologises unreservedly for mistakes made in handling two telecommunication mast applications.
"The application deadlines were missed by a single day and as a result both masts went through by default, despite having been refused.
"I have ensured measures are put in place to prevent similar administrative errors from happening in future.
"Letters have been sent out to the affected residents with a full and personal apology from me on behalf of the council."