Inspector says planned 5G mast in a built-up area would be an ‘alien installation’
Richard Youle Local Democracy Reporter
A 5G mast planned in a built-up area would be “overbearing” and “an alien installation”, a planning inspector said.
Penny Davies rejected an appeal for the 16m mast at Cwmbwrla Square, Manselton, after Swansea Council’s planning committee turned the scheme down last year.
Applicant CK Hutchinson Networks (UK) Ltd appealed the decision, and Welsh Government planning inspector Ms Davies said she did not question the need for 5G coverage for the area.
However, Ms Davies said the mast would be considerably taller than nearby properties and would cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the area.
Her decision report said the grey mast “would result in a visually intrusive and alien installation” that would dominate the street and be particularly overbearing for the closest house – probably visible even from its back garden and conservatory.
Ms Davies added that on the evidence before her, she was not persuaded that the availability of more suitable sites for the mast had been satisfactorily considered.
People living close to the proposed mast staged a protest and submitted a petition of opposition before councillors on the planning committee debated the application last January.
Planning officers recommended the scheme for approval, saying the impacts would be predominantly localised and would not adversely affect the wider area. They said other sites had been considered and discounted by the applicants and that a site had to receive a signal level which would make the mast operationally effective.
But the committee turned the application down by seven votes to three. Councillors heard from resident Kay Richards, who said her “forever home” on Pentregethin Road she has lived in for 52 years would have been five metres from the “monstrosity” and its three accompanying cabinets.
Cwmbwrla councillor Peter Black, who is a member of the committee and said the mast would severely impact Mrs Richards’s home, has welcomed the inspector’s decision. “We need 5G, but we’ve got to put masts in the proper place – right next to residents’ homes was completely unreasonable in my view,” he said.
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