5G mast can be erected after decision to refuse is overturned

A 20-metre-tall mast can be installed to provide 5G coverage on the edge of South Staffordshire after a district council decision was overturned by a planning inspector.

Area next to the A449 Stourbridge Road where the 5g mast is set to be installed
Area next to the A449 Stourbridge Road where the 5g mast is set to be installed

South Staffordshire Council refused permission for a telecommunications mast and equipment cabinets at the junction of Warstones Road and Stourbridge Road, near Penn and the Wolverhampton border, last year because of concerns it would “stand out as an incongruous feature within the surrounding area”.

The structure is intended to provide 5G coverage in the Springhill area. Cornerstone and Telefonica UK Ltd appealed against South Staffordshire’s decision.

A supporting statement submitted as part of the appeal said: “The proposed top height of the mast at 20m is the lowest possible that will enable the operator to provide equivalent 2G, 3G, 4G coverage to the surrounding area and enable 5G to be rolled out in this cell area without detrimentally affecting coverage. The council has not considered that this is an essential item of infrastructure which has to carry out a specific task.”

Planning inspector Bhupinder Thandi ruled in favour of the applicants.

The decision notice stated: “I conclude that the siting and appearance of the proposed development would not adversely affect the character and appearance of the area. The proposed development would be partially screened by trees.

“This section of Stourbridge Road is a busy dual carriageway with a grass central reservation resulting in a spacious environment. The verge is located within a suburban location on the approach to the City of Wolverhampton.

“Vertical structures such as lighting columns and road signs are notable features along the road. Whilst the proposal would result in visual change, it would be viewed in the context of a busy thoroughfare in a suburban area and other street furniture.

“Telecommunication installations, such as the one proposed, are common features in such environments given the requirement for high quality communications and that advanced, high quality, reliable communication infrastructure is considered essential for economic growth and social well-being. In the context of the surrounding area, I find that the proposed development would integrate into the area and would be compatible with its surroundings.”

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