'Nightmare' 15-metre phone mast to be built in Halesowen despite opposition

A controversial plan for a 5G mast prompted more than 130 Halesowen residents to fight against it – saying it ‘has been a nightmare for all of us’.

A Google Street View image showing work being carried out in April 2021 at the location of a new 5G mast in Farifield Road, Halesowen.
A Google Street View image showing work being carried out in April 2021 at the location of a new 5G mast in Farifield Road, Halesowen.

But Telecoms company Three will erect a 15-metre high pole outside the Fairfield pub on Fairfield Road after a proposal was approved by Dudley Council’s development control committee.

When the plans emerged, residents were furious about the impact the equipment could have on their health and the value of their homes.

They also complained about work starting in April and continuing without necessary planning permission which almost saw the mast being erected in May.

At Monday’s meeting, planning officers said enforcement teams acted on residents’ information to halt the work, which was being carried out in the “wrong place”.

Permission had been granted for two masts near this location and officers said this application was acceptable.

An online petition against the plan attracted more than 100 signatures while 37 put their name to a paper one. A number of other residents along with local councillor Stuart Henley also submitted written objections to the proposal.

Resident Darren Bastable told the committee: “Work began on this mast on April 6. It was being installed where planning permission hadn’t been given.

“Work never stopped. They carried on and carried on and totally ignored everyone and did it without any planning permission.

“On May 24, the mast arrived. Luckily I got through to Dudley Council planning and the work ceased.”

“I have neighbours who have lived next to me for 60 years and are aged in their 90s. They are totally upset and thinking of moving. It is a nightmare for all of us.”

Helen Yorke, Dudley Council planning officer, said: “Three had provided the necessary information to assure them the mast would not have a negative impact on people’s health.”

She added there were no issues around noise or adverse impact on highway safety.

She added: “Masts of this scale and nature are becoming commonplace in terms of street furniture in the borough and wider West Midlands as the rollout of 5G technology progresses.

“While the proposed mast will undoubtedly change the outlook for some residential properties the harm is not considered to outweigh the benefits of this technology.”

Planning manager Carl Mellor added: “It is accurate that, by error or otherwise, the applicants had started work in the wrong place.

“We had to tell them to stop working and they did. We’ve got back to a stage where we have the application before us and we are recommending approval on pure planning grounds.”

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