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New 20-metre 5G mast in Cwmbran gets the go-ahead following appeal

21 Feb 2022 2 minute read
The site of the proposed 5G mast in Cwmbran. Photo via Google.

Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter

A planning inspector has overturned a decision by Torfaen council to refuse permission for the installation of a 65-foot high 5G mast in Cwmbran.

The council refused the proposal in July – raising concerns over the impact of the mast on residents living nearby due to being ‘overbearing’ – and due to worries over its impact on the appearance of the area.

Developer CK Hutchison Networks, which operates mobile service provider Three, proposed the 20-metre mast to improve 5G coverage in the area on a highway verge next to a roundabout connecting Henllys Way and Cwmbran Drive.

However Torfaen council planners said the mast would be “in an overly prominent position” and that it would “detract from the character and appearance of the streetscene”.

A planning inspector’s report said: “It is suggested the height of the proposed mast would be significantly above that of the surrounding buildings, street furniture and vegetation and would be overbearing when viewed from the rear of residential properties on Bellevue Road”.

Poor coverage

But appealing against the decision, CK Hutchison Networks said the mast was needed to provide 5G in an area with “poor coverage”.

It said the mast would be screened from the views of residents’ homes by trees and street furniture.

Allowing the appeal, a planning inspector said the mast would be in front of trees, and that the ground level of the homes is below the verge, making it less visible.

“Although the upper section of the monopole would be visible above the existing tree belt, I am conscious that the height of the mast together with the angle at which it would be viewed from the rear of Bellvue Road and its grey finish would ensure that the structure would not be a visually prominent feature in the skyline,” the inspector’s report said.

“As such, I do not consider that the proposed development would appear oppressive or overbearing when viewed from the nearby residential properties.”

The inspector also said the surrounding area already contains a major highway junction, commercial signage and other street furniture, adding the mast “would not appear incongruous or have an adverse impact on the visual qualities of the area”.

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