Second attempt to put controversial 5G mast in city street blocked

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

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

A fresh attempt to get a 5G mast installed within a conservation area in a Norwich street has been blocked - after a shorter one than that which was previously turned down was also rejected.

Infrastructure company Cornerstone wanted to install a 20-metre 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 neighbours objected and Norwich City Counci planners refused to grant approval.They said the benefits of 5G coverage would not outweigh the harm in the conservation area and to the setting of nearby grade II listed Albert Terrace and other buildings.

Cornerstone appealed against that refusal, which is due to be considered by a planning inspector.But, in the meantime, they submitted a second application to City Hall requesting approval for a shorter mast - 17.5 metres tall, rather than 20 metres.

However, officers at the city council once again said no. Planning officer Maria Hammond, said in her report: “?The reduction in height of 2.5 metres is not considered significant enough to substantially reduce the visual harm the installation would cause by virtue of its siting adjacent to an existing mast and its increased height relative to surrounding features.

“This is considered to be harmful to the significance of the conservation area, setting of listed and locally listed buildings and to the historic park and garden.

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“The reduced height is not considered to significantly lower the level of harm from the previous proposal.”

A number of objectors had raised concerns over whether 5G is safe.

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But the council said national planning policy is that applicants must self-certify that International Commission guidelines for non-ionising radiation protection will not be exceeded.

The application was accompanied by the required self-certification, so the council was “satisfied” that the health implications “did not require further consideration”.

But they said: “The concerns of the local residents are, however, appreciated.”

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