Spalding

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.”

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.

A man who admitted carrying out a violent attack on a person found lying in a Spalding street was jailed for eight-and-a-half-years on Wednesday.

Aldis Blumbergs was also sentenced to four years extended licence on his release from jail when he will also face deportation to his native Latvia.

Lincoln Crown Court heard police and paramedics were called to Cedar Court on the morning of February 5 last year after a badly injured man was found on the ground by a householder.

The identity of the victim was initially not known by the police for two weeks but was later established to be Uldis Krasoviskis.

Andrew Peat, prosecuting, said: “He was seriously injured. His face, head and clothes were covered in blood, and his face was severely swollen.”

Video evidence showed Mr Krasoviskis had been dumped in an alley around 50 yards from where he was discovered.

Mr Peat told the court a trail of blood from the alley led police to the nearby home of Aldis Blumbergs in Alexander Road.

When police arrived at the property Blumbergs, 44, held up his hands in apparent anticipation of being handcuffed, Mr Peat added.

Witnesses described the attack occuring after both men had been drinking heavily at Blumbergs’ home during a gathering earlier the same night.

At around 10pm Blumbergs wanted to go to bed, but he became unhappy and jealous that his wife did not want to do the same, and became involved in a confrontation with Mr Krasoviskis.

The prosecution accepted that Blumbergs may have struck the first blow under a mistaken belief that he was about to be attacked by Mr Krasoviskis.

But Mr Peat said what then followed was a sustained attack with a bottle.

“He hit Mr Krasoviskis several times to the head with the bottle which didn’t smash.”

Mr Peat said Blumbergs left the room after the bottle was taken away by his daughter, but then returned and continued to punch his victim.

After the attack Blumbergs ordered his son to help carry Mr Krasoviskis outside.

CCTV evidence suggested this occured around three hours before he was found lying a short distance away in Cedar Court.

The victim was taken to Peterborough Hospital and transferred to intensive care where he remained for three weeks.

He was found to have injuries including a fractured jaw and minor traumatic brain injury.

But Mr Peat said the prosecution accepted Mr Krasoviskis also had a pre-existing medical condition which made the long-term impact of the attack difficult to assess.

Mr Peat added: “In simple terms he has been very ill for a long time and remains in a local care home.”

John McNally, mitigating, told the court Blumbergs regretted his actions, but it could not be proved that the injuries caused by him had led to the subsequent deterioration in his victim’s condition and a stroke.

Blumbergs, of Alexander Road, Spalding, pleaded guilty to a charge of causing grievous bodily harm on February 5 last year.

Passing sentence Recorder Charles Falk said everyone had drunk far too much.

“Your own daughter describes you holding the bottle, swinging it and repeatedly hitting Mr Krasoviskis to the head,” the Recorder told Blumbergs.

The Recorder added Mr Krasoviskis was almost unrecognisable when he was found by a member of the public and could only mumble the word ‘help.’

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