Appeal launched after rejection of 5G phone mast

The existing mast on Newmarket Road. Pic: Google Street View.

The existing mast on Newmarket Road. Pic: Google Street View. - Credit: Google Street View

An appeal is under way after controversial plans to put up a 20-metre tall 5G mast within a conservation area in a Norwich street were rejected.

Infrastructure company Cornerstone wants to install the mast, on behalf of Vodafone, in Newmarket Road.

They had said a new pole was needed – some 20m from the one it currently uses – because the nature of the technology meant it could not use an existing pole or share with others.

But people living nearby objected and planners at Norwich City Council refused to grant prior approval for the mast.

They had said: “The siting within this leafy, green setting, where built development is subservient to the soft, green character would be incongruous and harmful to the adjacent hedge and trees as a result of the installation.”

They said the benefits of 5G coverage would not outweigh the harm in the conservation area and to the setting of the nearby grade II listed Albert Terrace and other buildings.

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City Hall officers also said that the application did not “satisfactorily demonstrate” that the number of sites had been kept to a minimum or that alternatives had been “adequately explored”.

However Cornerstone has appealed against the refusal, so the matter will now be considered by a planning inspector.

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Documents lodged in support of Cornerstone’s case by Marrons Planning, state that the proposals would have “less than significant harm” upon the heritage assets, but that is “demonstrably outweighed by the clear public benefits of the proposals.”

They said that alternative sites had been assessed and discounted.

But the city council has stuck to its reasons for refusal.

In their submission, they said: “It has not been satisfactorily demonstrated that all possibilities to erect antennas on existing buildings, masts, other structures or in less harmful locations have been adequately explored and the harm to heritage assets, whilst less than substantial in scale, is not outweighed or mitigated by the public benefits of the contribution to a 5G telecommunications network.”

Conspiracy theories linking 5G technology to the coronavirus pandemic were slammed as “utter rubbish” by NHS England’s medical director Steve Powis earlier this year.

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