A PROPOSAL for a new 5G mast next to a Bournemouth medical centre has been refused by council planners.

CK Hutchison Networks Ltd sought permission to erect the 15-metre high pole adjacent to Shelly Manor Medical Centre in Chessel Avenue, Bournemouth.

The telecommunications firm submitted a prior approval procedure application to BCP Council, which gave the local authority just 56 days to provide a decision or the applicant would have “deemed consent” for the proposal.

As reported, the council has refused other mast schemes in the past but done this after the 56-day deadline meaning the decision had no power.

However, in relation to the Chessel Avenue plans, local authority planners provided their decision five days before the cut off.

A report by planning officer Richard Cable said: “The proposals would provide improved telecommunication service network coverage in the area having social and economic benefits to which weight should be given.

“The proposals would result in development that would be of unsympathetic and poor design impacting harmfully on the appearance of the street, the setting of heritage assets, potentially trees and visual amenity, such that would be harmful to the character and the appearance of the area and to which significant weight should be given.

“The provision of the facility at this location would result in a harmful impact on its surroundings. The applicant has failed to properly justify discounting other potential identified less impactful locations and to fully identify and explore the potential of other acceptable sites. Where the provision of a facility at the current site is shown to result in material harm all other potential sites should first be rigorously discounted.”

The application attracted 30 objections, which highlighted that it was very similar to an earlier refused proposal and it would impact on the setting of heritage assets.

Mr Cable’s report said: “Many objectors comment on the impact on health due to possible radiation/emissions though this is not a matter for consideration under this type of prior approval application.

“However, to allay concerns on these grounds it should be stated that the applicant has submitted an ICNIRP (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) compliant certificate that demonstrates that the radiation emissions fall well within accepted limits to safeguard human health. The submission is also accompanied by a briefing note regarding 5G and health that addresses the concerns regarding mast operation and human health.”