Residents win battle to stop huge 5G mast being built on Milton Keynes estate

Council has refused planning permission for the mast

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 5th July 2021, 11:43 am
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 11:44 am

Plans to site a giant 59ft tall 5G mast on a housing estate, next to a children's play area, have been refused following protests from residents.

Householders on Blakelands complained the mast would be unsightly, would devalue their homes and could also cause road safety problems.

The application, from Hutchison 3G UK, was on behalf of phone and broadband providers Three, who said the mast height had been kept down to the "absolute minimum" capable of providing the required essential new 5G coverage.

Residents in Woughton on the Green are also protesting and have produced superimposed photos to show the impact of a mast in their area

But MK planning councillors decided the mast was unsuitable for the site, which was on the Wedgwood Avenue junction with Huntsman Grove.

They said: The proposed mast, by reason of its siting, height and design (appearance), would dominate an open, green and uninterrupted part of the street scene which currently contributes positively to, and serves as a distinctive part of the character of the area. In this instance the public benefit of providing improved telecommunications infrastructure is not outweighed by the visual harm to the character and appearance of the area. The proposal is therefore contrary to policies D1 and D2 of Plan:MK 2019.”

Residents are now waiting to hear if the company will appeal.

"Even if they decide not to, they will be looking for another site nearby as the close proximity these masts have to be to each other will potentially create further problems within this area, said one.

Broadband companies say the 5G masts are essential for better coverage

He claimed: "We have noticed since becoming involved with the siting of these masts that absolutely no consideration is given to residents or housing estates. In fact, it appears that the process of locating a “suitable” site is generated by a computer to find the optimum site regardless of what impact it will have on the general public, and also the impact it will have on communities."

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”

A string of 5G masts has 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.

Another proposed site proving controversial is on Newport Road at Woughton on the Green, beside parklands and just 21 metres away from the Protected Ancient Monument site of a medieval sunken village.

This plan, on behalf of EE, is also for a 59ft tall mast.

Residents say the structure will be a blot on the landscape and have protested to the council.

They have produced photographs of their scenic views with the mast superimposed on them to demonstrate the impact.