Telecoms giant defeated in appeal to site 5G mast in one of the most scenic areas in Milton Keynes
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People in Woughton on the Green were furious last year when they saw the planning application from CK Hutchinson, a global telecom infrastructure company.
They wanted to site a 59ft tall 5G mast n Newport Road, right beside scenic parkland and just 21 metres away from the Protected Ancient Monument site of a medieval sunken village.an
The mast, which would be opposite a grade 11 listed thatched cottage, would be totally out of place a real blot on the landscape, said the residents, who were backed by the Parks Trust and their parish council.
The application was heard by MK Council and refused. But Hutchinson’s promptly lodged and appeal, which was conducted last month by an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State.
This week he gave his decision – a flat refusal to Hutchinsons
The inspector said the 50ft tall mast would stand out as an “incongruous and dominant feature” within the surrounding streetscape and would harmfully detract from the character and appearance of the area.
It would also “erode the settings of the various designated heritage assets through the introduction of a distinctly urbanising feature into this rural context,” he said.
The inspector concluded: “The proposed siting and appearance of the proposal would therefore have a harmful effect on the setting of nearby heritage assets and the wider character and appearance of the area.”
The need for improvements within the mobile telephone network infrastructure was not disputed, and the economical and social benefits of improved connectivity
weighed “substantially in favour” of the proposal, he said
But he added: "In this case, I do not find that the public benefits outweigh the less than substantial harm arising to numerous heritage assets… heritage assets are
a precious resource.”
Resident Nick Pacey said: “This is a massive result and a huge success for the residents of Woughton on the Green and a humiliating defeat for this communications giant. It was a real David and Goliath result.”
Nick had even taken photos of the scenic street scene and superimposed a 15m tall mast onto it to present as part of the residents’ case.
He has thanked Charlotte Hall, the local Parish Council, local objectors and MK Planners for fighting for a “seemingly lost cause against all the odds”.
Last month residents on Blakelands won a similar battle, again against Hutchinsons, to prevent a 5G mast being sited on their estate. It was the second planning application for the same site by the company and the council refused both.
Hutchison is the company behind phone and broadband providers Three.
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 council in MK 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.”