Proposed 5G mast labelled 'monstrosity' by objecting residents and councillors
- Credit: Maya Derrick
A band of disgruntled residents are encouraging others to join them in objecting the planned erection of a 20 metre 5G mast in a green area of Stevenage.
In a bid to protect the aesthetic of tree-lined Coreys Mill Lane and North Road - near Lister Hospital - campaigners are seeking to gain support in objecting to the telecoms pole, which will tower metres over the avenue of trees in the immediate vicinity of residential dwellings.
James Silsby, who lives directly opposite the proposed site on North Road, told the Comet how the mast would be an eyesore and cause disruption to him and his neighbours.
Dubbing the 5G mast a "monstrosity", he said: "We've got this lovely green area with tree preservation orders on to maintain the character of the area, and it's totally incongruous and out of keeping with our area really.
"We're not against progress. The hospital already houses some masts and there's a multi-storey car park there, which I would think could be a perfectly good alternative site for a mast."
The mast would tower over the existing 12 metre tall tree line that masks Whitney Drive bungalows from the main road, 8 metre high street lights and street signage, which stands at 3 metres.
"People do want progress, people do want to use 5G, and we're not against that - we're not against progress at any cost. This would be visible and detrimental to the skyline all the way up North Road as we come out from the town, and for many local residents here."
- 1 I went to Stevenage Charter Fair for the first time, and here's what I thought
- 2 Ambulance called to crash between motorcycle and van in Stevenage
- 3 GP surgery blamed for young cancer victim's late diagnosis
- 4 Teaching assistant celebrates 50 years of working at school
- 5 14 of the best places for a curry in Hertfordshire according to readers
- 6 Stevenage has 'no money left' for new special needs children, says county council
- 7 Remembering one of Hertfordshire's best-known estate agents
- 8 Appeal after dog attack in Stevenage park
- 9 Stevenage Charter Fair returns to town next week
- 10 Woman taken to hospital after medical incident in town centre
James added that it's "crazy" that people living adjacent are forbidden from adding a second storey extension, but considerations had been made for a structure "that’s many times higher than the residents homes that it will impact."
Forty-six residents were notified of the proposed works, and the campaigners are working to alert residents within 250 metres of the corner of North Road and Coreys Mill Lane to the planning application, so they can form their own views.
Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, pledged his support of the objectors, and met with James and fellow protester Neil Williams to discuss the potential impact of the 5G mast.
With his support, the objection deadline has now been extended by two weeks, to Tuesday, August 17.
Mr McPartland said: “In fairness to the council, their hands are tied and they have to hear the application or it gets permission automatically. They have extended the deadline to let residents object and I would urge then to do so, just as I have.
"The mast is absolutely huge and no effort has been made to have it in keeping with the local area or camouflage it.”
Neil Williams lives in Whitney Drive, where an avenue of trees is all that will stand between the 5G mast and his home.
"I live in the property which is closest situated to the proposed mast. In old money, it's 12 yards to my garage and 20 yards to my bedroom.
"My main concerns are its visibility and impact to the area. That's something I think the council have within their powers to address.
"I think residents, myself and my wife, we suffer from the anxiety that's associated with having that mast in that area, and agree that we're not against technology in any form," he said, adding that he himself works in the technology sector.
"I'm a supporter of technology, just not at any cost and at the impact of what they're trying to do to the local area."
Neil explained that under current government guidance, 5G masts are prohibited from being pitched within 200 metres of schools, as children are 'sensitive receptors'.
"The government would say that these masts are safe, and, based on certain studies that have been put in place, there is no documented evidence to say there is health concern.
"However, from a simple search or from looking in the papers, you'll see the amount of press that is around these potential effects - no one knows. That in itself causes anxiety."
Cllr Phil Bibby, who represents the Woodfield ward, visited the site and added: "Having looked at the area and spoken to residents, it's clear that this monstrosity of a 20 metre mast overlooking houses in North Road and in Whitney Drive is totally inappropriate, and I think the council and the telecoms companies should look at alternative sites.
"I think they should upgrade any existing sites, because they're already there, people are used to them and they're already working, but also choose sites that aren't so obtrusive on residents, because the telecoms companies needs the residents to support them, and they won't do that by putting a mast outside their front gardens.
He continued: "There are other models out there that can help you look at an area and decide which is the best place to put your mast, and we don't believe outside Whitney Drive is there - it could be somewhere else in Stevenage quite nearby, but not there."
To register your views on the proposal, and for more information, visit Stevenage Borough Council's planning portal and search for application 21/00765/PATELE.