Controversial 5G mast plan turned down
- Credit: Mike Goldwater
Plans for a 5G mobile phone mast that saw a village up in arms has been refused.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has said the planned mast at the junction of Cromer Road and Pauls Lane in Overstrand cannot go ahead.
The decision was greeted with relief by parish council chairman Bruce Stratton, who said: "It's good news that NNDC have taken the view of the public and had the good sense to refuse it.
"We have to accept that everywhere in the UK will have 5G because that's a government dictate, and as a parish council I don't think we're opposed to having 5G in the village - if we don't have it we would fall behind the times.
"But the location for this was totally wrong. Phone companies have to consider the views of Overstrand and choose locations that aren't disruptive."
The mast would have been 60ft (18 metres) tall and sited next to the Belfry Centre for music and arts and the Belfry Primary School. The application to erect the mast was put in by WHP Telecoms and it would been used by the Three network.
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Objections centred around the visual impact the mast would have had, and the possible risk to traffic because the structure would have cut some views of the nearby road.
Mr Stratton said a parish council meeting in July where the mast was discussed was "probably the biggest one we've ever had" with 70-80 people gathered both inside and outside the meeting room to oppose the plans.
At the meeting, one resident said that a lollipop lady had recently been struck by a car on the junction, adding: "Kids are already taking their life into their own hands on that road."
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Another resident, Derek Johnston, 62 said: "There's a lot of cars that come out there - it's already a restricted view and this is going to make it even worse. The main concerns are for the school, and the safety and visual impact.
An NNDC officer report on the application says: "Details of the siting and appearance of the development have been submitted, which are considered unacceptable in this instance.
"As a result, this application is refused and planning permission would be required."
Will mast saga drag on?
Angie Fitch-Tillett, NNDC ward councillor for Poppyland, which includes Overstrand, said she was delighted with the decision to turn the plans down.
Mrs Fitch-Tillett, who also campaigned against the mast, said: "Obviously I'm very happy with the officers' decision. I think it's the right one.
"I'm concerned that it will go to appeal, but we will keep our fingers crossed".
5G technology allows for faster internet speeds by using high frequency waves, but they need more transmitter masts to operate than previous telecommunications technology.
Earlier this year the government announced plans to increase the maximum allowable height for masts on public land from 20m to 25m for existing masts, and 30m for new ones.
But stricter rules were to come in for protected areas such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Meanwhile, the government has said it wanted to extend 4G technology to 95pc of the UK by 2025.