April 15, 2021 2.55 pm This story is over 36 months old

Councillors reject Spalding 5G masts

“They should be beacons, not blights,” said one councillor

Councillors have rejected plans for two 5G masts in Spalding following objections from local residents.

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

Both masts had sparked health concerns from local campaigners, including South Holland MP Sir John Hayes.

Officers had recommended the mast in Birch Grove go ahead and Wygate Park be rejected, however councillors decided to throw both out.

Objectors had raised fears including the impact on their health. Others feared the design of the masts, their visual impact, their effect on nature and the potential for vandalism.

South Holland District Council’s planning committee discussed the 5G masts on Wednesday.

Ward Member Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones said: “I’m not against the 5G network coming to South Lincolnshire and Spalding in principle — the area and our district is too often at the back of the queue when it comes to the updating and improving of our infrastructure.

“However, in the case of this particular application, the applicant appears to have shown little regard for the actual impact their installation would have on residents.”

He accused the applicant of carrying out only “cursory investigations” while other members said there was not enough information.

Councillors felt there were better, more appropriate locations for the masts, with some pointing to masts located on top of hospitals, or fire stations.

Some councillors were disappointed there were no speakers on behalf of the applicant at the meeting.

Plans for how the mast might look.

Ward member Councillor Christine Lawton said: “These giant masts will inevitably become a part of our living landscape and will surely be needed but they should be beacons not blight.”

Council leader Lord Gary Porter spoke as a member of the public during the meeting.

Following the rejection of the Wygate Park structure he called the Birch Grove erection a “Billy no mates mast”, adding it would be “premature” to approve it.

He called for a more strategic layout for the whole of South Holland, adding that with super fast broadband on the horizon, he felt the 5G masts were already on their way to becoming obsolete.

Chairman James Avery summed up one of the applications saying: “This does remind me somewhat of a song lyric from The Jam, which is “the public gets what the public wants”.

“Very much the public do want 5G in terms of their broadband connectivity and mobile communications, but there is a right location.”