IT CAME as a big surprise to learn from my local residents’ association that a re-application has been received by our BCP planning department to install a 20m (65ft) high 5G monopole tower with six antennas, two transmission dishes atop plus four ground level equipment cabinets in a residential area on a small recreational parcel of public land next to Talbot roundabout.

One of the declared commercial beneficiaries of this installation is Huawei.

Further investigation revealed that the applicant is only legally obliged to put up small discreet laminated posters near the installation site for them to be able to cite that they have fully engaged with the local neighbourhood and community.

The UK public is divided on whether this Government’s ambitious roll out of 5G is safe in terms of public health. Interestingly, the UK Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are not allowed to consider 5G mast applications on the basis of public health and safety or impact on property values within the vicinity.

Realistically, this leaves BCP Council’s planning team to consider 5G mast applications only on aesthetic impact on an area which is the basis on which the BCP planning officer rejected the applicant’s first submission back in October 2020 and I quote:

“The new 20 metre mast and associated equipment proposed, by reason of its size, bulk, design, height and prominent position, would form an overly intrusive and visually dominant addition that would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area.

“In addition, the applicant has failed to demonstrate that the development would not have any adverse impact on the long term retention of protected trees which could have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area if lost.”

The troubling aspect to the applicant’s re-submission is that it is almost identical in every respect to the first application save the fact that they have now submitted their own arboriculturalist tree report in attempt to circumvent a previous technicality omission.

The siting of 5G masts is a matter of local public interest and in my opinion it is not healthy for local democracy that such applications are slipped through under the public’s awareness radar without proper community consultation.

Accordingly, I have also emailed my local councillor Drew Mellor in the hope that he will intervene in this matter in the interest of his ward and the wider BCP Community in his capacity as leader of the council.

This planning application 7-2021-18550-NE is available for public comment on BCP’s planning application search portal online with a deadline of March 12.


Talbot Road