Wednesday 24 July 2024
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5G mast 15 metres high could be refused in ‘well kept’ Nottinghamshire neighbourhood

Plans for a 15-metre high 5G telecoms mast could be refused in a ‘well-kept’ Mansfield neighbourhood over concerns its ‘excessive’ size could impact the area’s character.

The proposal has been submitted by applicant CK Hutchison Ltd for the corner of Westfield Lane and Chester Street.

Mansfield District Council’s planning committee will debate the plans on August 29.

The applicant wants to build a large communications mast as well as three equipment cabinets in a bid to boost internet signal across parts of the town.

However, council reports are recommending the refusal for the plans over concerns the area’s character could be impacted by what is described as an ‘unsympathetic’ structure.

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It follows a petition, local objections and concerns from the local councillor urging the council to throw out the proposals.

The grass verge at the junction of Westdale Lane and Chester Street Mansfield where the proposed 5G mast would be based
The grass verge at the junction of Westdale Lane and Chester Street, Mansfield, where the proposed 5G mast would be erected.

Cllr Stuart Richardson (Lab), who represents the Penniment ward where the plans would be based, raised an objection during a consultation.

The cabinet member for regeneration and growth said: “The site for the proposed telecoms mast is a well-kept, pleasantly grassed area.

“The installation of a 15-metre high mast with associated cabinets will have a significant impact on the street scene, notwithstanding that it would dwarf the adjacent trees mentioned.

“This mast and cabinets would be a dominant feature, totally out of character and a have detrimental effect on the visual amenity of the area.”

Papers also reveal 76 objections have been raised by local residents, with concerns including a potential health impact on local schools.

Other concerns include visual impact, construction and maintenance traffic, the structure being a “distraction to road users” and the “impact of 5G on household appliances”.

And a five-page petition with more than 150 signatures has been sent to the council raising similar concerns, as well as potential “health alarm, anxiety and stress”.

However, in papers, the applicant sought to address potential health concerns associated with 5G and said it is “just as safe as 4G [and] 3G”.

It said: “Some people have expressed concern a large number of 5G cells may increase a person’s exposure to radio waves.

“However, that is not the way cellular mobile networks work. Every time a new mast or small cell is added, the distance the signal has to travel reduces.

“Therefore, from the laws of physics, the power needed at the smartphone and base station for a reliable connection is much less.”

It added: “Small 5G base stations … will reduce radio wave exposure to individual smartphone users and improve local G5 capacity for all manner of useful bandwidth-hungry applications.

“A good 5G fibre base local broadband infrastructure will be important to local communities over the coming decades.”

But the authority’s planning department has recommended refusal for the plans despite admitting they do offer “economic and social benefits”.

In papers, the council said: “The 15m high monopole would materially harm the visual amenity of the locality by virtue of its excessive height, inappropriate siting and unsympathetic design.

“It would form an overly dominant feature in the street scene that would result in harm to the character and appearance of the area.”

The UK Health Security Agency monitors evidence relating to 5G mast technology and health.

Its advice on the network says: “It is possible that there may be a small increase in overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to an existing network or in a new area.

“However, the overall exposure is expected to remain low relative to guidelines and, as such, there should be no consequences for public health.”

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