Neighbours delighted as council says no to controversial 5G phone mast

PUBLISHED: 11:34 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:44 29 April 2020

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

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

Google Street View

Controversial plans to put up a 20-metre tall 5G mast in a Norwich street have been rejected, to the delight of neighbours who had opposed it.

Vodafone had wanted to install the mast in Newmarket Road, on the opposite side to Town Close Preparatory School and within a conservation area.

The mobile phone company already shares a mast with other operators there, but said it needed one of its own to provide 5G.

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

People living nearby had objected, saying good practice over installation had not been adhered to and questioned why sharing a mast had been ruled out so rapidly.

And planners at Norwich City Council have refused to grant prior approval for the mast.

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They turned down the mast, saying “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.”

Officers said the 20-metre high pole would “protrude above the adjacent mature tree canopy where the bulky antennae at the top would be seen against the skyline.”

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.

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”.

David Bloomfield, who lives nearby and had raised concerns, said it had “come as a nice surprise” that the mast had been rejected.

He said: “The big phone companies are still arguing over mast sharing and how to apportion costs, maybe this decision help to confirm that the option of having two masts next to each other is going to be more difficult to justify.”

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

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