Planning inspectors allow 5G mast despite Council concerns

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Permission has been granted for the installation of a 15-metre high 5G mast at a busy junction in Braunstone Town, despite concerns its siting posed a hazard to both pedestrians and road users.

Government Planning Inspectors upheld an appeal from CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd after Blaby District Council refused the firm’s initial application for the mast in September 2022, based on its location and appearance.

The Council believed the position of the mast, three equipment cabinets and associated works at Turnbull Drive, Braunstone Town, was inappropriate.

It felt a large mast on the site, a grassed verge between two busy road junctions, could pose visibility problems for motorists as well as pose an obstacle to people walking along the footpath.

However, the Planning Inspectorate did not share the Council’s view the location could cause harm to both road users and footpath pedestrians.

Planning Inspectors felt because the mast was in a stepped back position it would not interfere with visibility for motorists or cause undue obstruction for pedestrians.

They said the footpath was sufficiently wide and surfaced to a high standard and if there were times when movement might be hindered, people could always use the footpath on the opposite side of the road.

Councillor Ben Taylor said "The Council received a total of 31 objections from residents and the Town Council and a petition was later lodged against the proposal to install the equipment.

"As a Council we cannot question the need for telecommunications, planning permission is not required as it falls within permitted development rights, but operators are required to seek prior approval from the Council on site location and appearance.

"The District Council recognises the need for 5G across the country, but there has been strong opposition to the siting of the proposed mast due to highway and pedestrian safety.

"This is a very busy road and it is a risky place to put the mast and cabinets. Safety of our communities should come first and so we are extremely disappointed with the result."

Councillor Ben Taylor

Councillor Ben Taylor
Portfolio Holder for Planning Delivery and Enforcement and Corporate Transformation

17 May 2023