New 5G mast approved despite fears drivers will be distracted

A 15-metre high 5G phone mast will be built in a residential area despite concerns over how “distracting” it will be.

Newton Road. Photo: Google
Newton Road. Photo: Google

The proposed pole and 4 equipment cabinets, in Newton Road, Great Barr, aims to provide 5G network coverage in the area.

A previous planning application had been refused in May due to its original size of 20 metres, noting the pole would be “a dominant and incongruous feature” and would be “harmful to the character and appearance of the area”.

The applicant, CK Hutchinson Networks, which owns the Three UK mobile network, reduced the height of the mast by five metres.

Various objections were raised against its construction, including the suggestion it would be “a distraction to drivers” and “out of keep” with the surrounding area.

Other objections regarding “devaluation” of nearby properties and on “health grounds” were also raised.

Councillor Fenton, said she “agreed with residents” and spoke in favour of refusing the application.

She said: “Although we take each one on their own merit, I’ve seen the pictures of what happens when trees get taken down.

“I can only imagine what that would be like looking at this [monopole], and I can only imagine how distracting it may be driving down the nearby busy dual carriageway.

“We’ve got one that went up on George Road – that’s absolutely destroyed the view of a long established building – albeit a pub – it’s still a long established building. And it’s caused havoc for the school runs.

“My frustrations comes from these companies, because I don’t think you need these monopoles to be outside residential units. I’m pretty sure we’ve got sporadic industrial zones around Sandwell that could cater them.”

She added: “If were a resident, I’d be concerned with these monopoles distracting people, causing accidents outside my house, and I’d be concerned that my view for the majority of the year is going to be a great big mess.”

John Baker, service manager for development planning and building consultancy, told the chair of the planning committee to be “mindful of the comments” Councillor Fenton made, citing the remit for telecommunication applications is “quite narrow”.

The application was passed by a majority decision.

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