Residents attack 'bizarre' plan to build 59ft 5G mast on housing estate in Milton Keynes

The mast would be near a children's play area

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 5:02 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 5:10 pm

Residents on Blakelands are objecting to the "bizarre" positioning of a proposed 5G mast on their estate.

A planning application from WHP Telecoms Limited asks for consent to install a 'Telecommunications Box' described as a Phase 8 Monopole C/W wrapround cabinet on land at Wedgewood Avenue and it went unnoticed by many householders.

However, closer inspection of the planning documents reveal this actually involves an 18m - 59ft - tall mast. It will be used by the Three network.

A 5G mast
A 5G mast

"It will be positioned near a redway and less than 60 feet opposite our property. It also is only metres away from a children's playground where the children play in the trees directly where they want to position it," said one Blakelands resident.

"I knocked on neighbours' doors and about 75% of them had absolutely no knowledge of this. Initially the application mentioned a cabinet being positioned, but on further investigation it is three cabinets and an 18 metre mast," he added.

By the time the residents had realised, they had only a day to get their comments on the Planning Portal before the deadline.

"Around Blakelands you have factories, trees and green areas away from residential areas, and these would be far more appropriate," says one complainant.

"There is another industrial estate close by that again would be far more suitable. It beggars belief that they would want to position it in full view of residents front doors and windows not only devaluing the privately owned properties but now becoming a blot on the landscape that completely ruins their view. Wedgwood Avenue is probably one of the prettiest roads with its avenue of trees, which they want to spoil by putting in this mast," he added.

"Already the residents have had to face the debacle of the warehouse overshadowing bungalows, with an ongoing protest. How much more do they expect us to take?"

Householder are also worried about road safety and the cabinets blocking the view for motorists.

WHP Telecoms Limited say the site is a "highly constrained cell search area" and the mast is necessary for people to benefit from the new 5G technology.

"Options are extremely limited and the only viable solution that minimises amenity issues has been put forward. Three are in the process of building out the UK’s fastest 5G network. Three has 140MHz of 5G spectrum (and 100MHz of it contiguous), which means our service will be much faster and able to handle more data."

The company adds: "To bring this new technology to the people H3G will need to provide a mix of upgrades to existing sites and the building of new sites. In this area there is an acute need for a new mast to deliver the above."

They said the height of the proposed pole had been kept down to the "absolute minimum" capable of providing the required essential new 5G coverage.

"The site has been selected on a wide adopted area of the highway in a position that will not impede pedestrian flow or the safety of passing motorists. This equipment is considered unlikely to have any material impact on the local area but significant connectivity improvements which is a material consideration in the judgment of the site’s suitability."

The company concludes: "The area is residential in nature and potential amenity issues have been avoided by siting the proposed equipment as far away from sensitive residential receptors as possible. A backdrop of mature trees will help screen the equipment from views to the east and south. The height of the trees will help prevent the monopole from appearing incongruous."

The matter is due to go to the council's development control committee for consideration later this summer.

A string of 5G masts have already been agreed for Milton Keynes as the city sets up to become testbed for new technology Two of these are at CMK while other sites include MK hospital, Chaffron Way, MK Stadium and Magna Park.

A Three spokesperson said: “Access to 5G has a vital role to play in boosting local economies, helping residents and businesses get faster and more reliable network coverage. This is why we’re working with the local council in Milton Keynes to roll out the UK’s fastest 5G network so that we can keep everyone connected both now and in the future.

“While we try to keep mast sites as unobtrusive as possible, they do need to be situated near to where people will be using the service and, in many cases, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage”