April 8, 2021 1.53 pm This story is over 13 months old

Controversial Spalding 5G mast to be rejected, but another could get go ahead

The two applications are at opposite ends of Spalding

A controversial 5G mast in Spalding, which has sparked health concerns from residents, is set to be rejected next week, but a similar one just over two miles away could be approved.

South Holland District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday will examine Hutchison UK’s plans to build 20 metre and 18 metre masts at Wygate Park and Birch Grove respectively.

Both applications have sparked objections from residents, as well as South Holland MP Sir John Hayes. Residents said they have fears over the health implications of radio frequency fields and people’s mental health.

However, while officers will recommend Wygate Park be rejected, they say the Birch Grove one can go ahead.

The applicants said there is a requirement to upgrade the UK H3G (Three) network to provide improved coverage and capacity.

In a statement they said: “The site selection process has also been influenced by the numerous vertical elements of street furniture distributed around the vicinity of the site, including street lighting columns.

“The height of the pole has been kept down to the absolute minimum capable of providing the required essential new 5G coverage.”

Plans for how the mast might look.

More than 47 objections have been received for the Wygate Park mast, including Sir John Hayes and local councillors Roger Gambba-Jones, Angela Newton and Christine Lawton.

Elsewhere, hundreds of people have signed a petition against the plans.

Mr Hayes has also objected to the Birch Grove application, alongside 15 objectors from the area.

He told the council: “I share my constituents view that the mast (Wygate) is completely out of character with the surrounding area, which is predominantly residential and green open space.

“This mast will be an incongruous structure blighting the landscape, causing loss of amenity to the neighbouring properties and beyond.”

“My constituents have also raised concerns about the health implications of this mast, not only from any potential exposure to radio frequency fields, but the impact on their mental health of having a pole situated nearby.”

Where the Birch Grove mast would go. | Image: Google Streetmaps

In response to Birch Grove, he said there had been “no consultation” with residents.

Objectors to the plans have raised fears including the impact on their health, alongside the effect on nature and the potential for vandalism at the sites.

One comment summarised by officers said: “Internet research shows that the criteria against which masts are assessed for health impact is not stringent enough.”

In their reports before councillors next week, officers said of the Wygate Park mast: “The proposal, by virtue of its siting, would represent an unduly dominant, obtrusive and alien feature within the street scene.

“Accordingly, the proposal would result in unacceptable harm to the character, appearance and visual amenity of the surrounding area.”

However, in relation to Birch Grove they said the proposal did not exceed the limits of permitted development for the area, and that in that regard the siting and appearance were acceptable.