Proposed phone mast is in the wrong location, say 100+ objectors

Where the mast would go

More than 100 people have objected to phone giant Three’s proposal to put up a 5G phone mast and three cabinets on a grass verge at Long Beach Road in Longwell Green.

The Week In highlighted the proposed location – close to the Willsbridge Mill car park – at the end of the July, which was the first that some people living nearby had heard about it.

South Gloucestershire Council planning officers are expected to make a decision by 17th September on whether prior approval can be granted.

Concerned local residents attended the recent meeting of planning and highways committee of Oldland Parish Council to share their concerns about the proposed 16-metre mast.

They said there had been limited consultation with local residents, the mast would be higher than nearby trees and that the installation would affect drivers’ visibility. Objectors also said that local homes already have sufficient wi-fi and that the nearby Willsbridge Mill car park would be a more suitable location for a mast as it wouldn’t be so prominent. Concern was also raised about 24-hour noise pollution from fans running in the cabinets.

Parish councillors also agreed to object, questioning the necessity of a 5G mast which they felt would be better suited to a semi-industrial or retail area. They said the location would cause an obstruction to drivers turning right out of Burney Way and would hinder drivers from seeing pedestrians crossing the road. They felt the nearby car park would be a more acceptable location and that other locations, such as the community centre in Shellards Road, should be considered.

The parish councillors also asked Cllr Carol Strange, who represents Longwell Green on South Gloucestershire Council, to ‘call in’ the application to be determined by the planning committee. However, the parish council has since found out that under the terms of South Gloucestershire Council’s constitution, it cannot be called in as it is a prior approval application which must be determined within a fixed period; if no decision is made in that time, the mast will be deemed to have approval.

Both Cllr Strange and the her ward colleague Cllr Kris Murphy have acknowledged the importance of 5G for local residents and businesses, but say they don’t support the planned location of the mast. Both have suggested that the nearby car park is considered instead.

This week South Gloucestershire Council’s planning portal is showing 109 comments against and 18 in favour of the mast.