MOBILE phone giant Vodafone made "false claims" it was being forced to move a mast from commercial premises in Blackheath because it had been given notice to quit, the News can reveal.

Plans to relocate the 50ft mast from the roof of Formula 1 Autocentres, Long Lane, to a grass triangle next to houses in Halesowen sparked a storm of protest from residents.

In a pre-planning letter outlining the proposed move to the junction of Narrow Lane and Firth Park Crescent, Vodafone agents WFS Telecom confirmed there was “a specific requirement for a radio base station at this location to provide replacement coverage” because the owner of the Formula 1 building had “served notice to quit”.

But Formula 1 director Steve Lant, whose family-run company owns the building, denied this had happened.

He said negotiations were currently ongoing over Vodafone’s requirements to obtain access from the autocentre to carry out repairs to the mast.

This would involve closing one of the two main bays for a fortnight and Formula 1 had asked for compensation for loss of earnings.

Mr Lant said: “We are in negotiations, they are ongoing and we have not reached any stage of awkwardness.

“We have not issued a notice to quit and neither has Vodafone said they wish to quit, In fact, they have just paid the next quarter’s rental.”

Firth Park Crescent resident Jason Scott said the reason stated for the need to move had been shown up as “completely wrong”.

He added: “It sounds like they were trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. I can’t see how this proposal can go any further now.”

Mr Lant said access to the mast had previously been obtained through the neighbouring Halesowen Conservative Club until the building was sold last year.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone’s property management services CTIL declined to say why residents had been told Formula 1 had given notice to quit.

She said an alternative site was being sought as a result of a breach notice being served in 2012.

“As a result of this we considered the site at risk and decided to work towards developing a new base station site in the local area,” she said.

But Mr Lant said the breach of the terms of the lease related to the amount of equipment on the roof.

He said: “They were asked to rectify the breach, which they did and the matter was resolved.”