‘Slimmer this time’: new attempt to build 17.5m mobile mast in village
PUBLISHED: 05:27 11 November 2020 | UPDATED: 10:55 11 November 2020
A new telephone mast could be built to improve “notoriously poor” mobile phone service for a Waveney community.
Telefonica UK has applied to put up a 17.5m tower, including antennas and dishes, on the grounds of Loddon Telephone Exchange on Langley Road, Chedgrave.
If approved, the grey mast would provide 2G, 3G and 4G broadband to most of Chedgrave and Loddon through O2.
In a planning statement to South Norfolk Council, Telefonica UK said: “The importance of communications infrastructure, and especially mobile connectivity, is reflected in the measures being put in place by the government and NHS in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“People are now being encouraged to work from home, avoid unnecessary travel, and NHS staff, other workers, and GP registered patients are receiving regular updates by text and email.
“In areas with poor or non-existent wired broadband connectivity, this means relying upon 3G and 4G connectivity to remain in touch with their work or to access public services. At present, significant areas of Chedgrave and Loddon suffer from poor coverage on O2’s network.”
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The company said it had carried out an “exhaustive” search of sites after a previous application for a mast at the telephone exchange was refused because of concerns over its visual impact.
Telefonica UK said lower sections of the mast and equipment cabinets would be screened, however antennas would be visible.
It added: “We have attempted to minimise this impact by using a shrouded antenna design and a slimmer mast. This impact should be acceptable when considered against the public benefits of improved connectivity services.”
Three residents have supported the application including John and Cynthia Gibling, from Church Close in Chedgrave, who said: “Improved mobile service is desperately needed in this area. I believe there have been instances of people becoming unwell at the church. It is impossible to make a call there and that is the highest point in the village.”
Ian Giles, from Norwich Road, Chedgrave, said: “Mobile phone reception is notoriously poor in this area and these days it is expected that everyone has access to a mobile phone.”
Matthew Bangley, from Hillside, Chedgrave, said the central location of the proposed mast meant everyone would benefit.
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