We have received a planning application letter notifying us that a telecoms operator has applied to install a 20 meter high 5G mast on the pavement outside 16 Wightman Road (close to Olive Tree House, the retirement home). We received the letter as we live nearby, but as the mast will be very prominent (screen shot of elevation drawing attached) and visible to anyone that uses Wightman Road, I thought I'd post the information here too.
Whilst I'd welcome 5G coverage, my opinion is that a public footpath is not the right location for such a large mast. I've been advised that there are special planning provisions for phone masts, which may mean that it is not possible to prevent the mast altogether. However, it could be better positioned, such as on the opposite side of the road set back on Network Rail land. It is also important that if the mast does get approved, that it is designed to enable multiple networks to use it in order to avoid a proliferation of masts.
The application reference number is HGY/2021/1071
You can view and comment on the application here
The deadline to comment is Monday 10th May.
In my view, the unanswered question about 5G antennas is: how far from the antenna can a 5G telephone be and still pick up a usable signal? This point is skated over in the Mobile UK Briefing Note: 5G and Health included with this planning application where it gives the following question and answer "Does 5G mean an antenna on every street corner and inside all buildings? Wherever possible, an operator will place these antennas at an existing site, potentially replacing one of the existing antennas on the site. Only where additional capacity and/or coverage is needed will additional sites be built."
I am not well informed about the effective range of 5G signals but I would not be surprised to learn that, even outdoors, the range will be as little as 100s of metres. If this is right, the key question that we and our Council should be asking is "How far along Wightman Road will the next antenna need to be sited and will there need to be still another near the junction with Turnpike Lane and another by the Wood Green job centre." These four would be a full kilometre apart which might not be enough. Wouldn't it be good to get a fuller picture?
As to the railway land across the road, it occurs to me that the proximity of the railway's 25,000 volt overhead conductors might be a limiting factor.
If I was still working in the telecommunications industry, I would not like to see the proposed new street cabinets sited right on the edge of the footway where they stand a more than negligible chance of being damaged by a passing heavy vehicle.
This comes under permitted development so, as you say, I don't think it's possible to block it. The laws were changed five years or so ago to make it much easier to build these things where the phone companies want.
I imagine it will look like the one next to Turnpike Lane tube.
This is an application for prior approval which the council can and has deemed necessary in the past resulting in lower masts or resiting to a different location.
It is important to use the planning policies and these do still apply. Use/refer to the points you pick up in Haringey's DPD planning policy, notably DM1, DM3, DM9 and specifically DM 54 - Facilitating Telecommunications Development which is extremely relevant to this case.
- HGY/2021/0373 where the council as Local Planning Authority deemed that "Prior approval is required for the following reasons:..."
- Or in HGY/2021/0373 check the reason for refusal for a 20 m high mast. Use this and paraphrase to make your objection.
Spread the word to neighbours affected and get them to object. Put pressure on the councillors too.
Note also that there are European and other city centre locations which have 5G antennae that just are not visble. So there are alternatives to these ugly, utilitarian structures - the cheapest the telecoms want to pay for? - being foistred unto residential streets.
The Victorians went to the pain of having street furniture with artistic designs so that they added some aesthetic value to the street scene. Why can't this be done today?
I hope this helps.
Note that none of the arguments for objecting are on health grounds.
Thank you very much JJ B for such a helpful and informative response. I used the resources you recommended which were very useful and saved me a lot of time and research. Much appreciated.
Copy and paste: "The proposed mast installation, by virtue of its height, design, size and location,
would result in an incongruous and visually obtrusive form of development that
would be out of keeping with the visual character of the surrounding street scene
and have a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the wider Area,
which add visual clutter to the street scene, contrary to Policy SP11 of the Haringey
Local Plan 2017, Policies DM1, DM3, and DM54 of The Development Management
DPD 2017.and Policies D6, D8 and SI6 of the London Plan 2020 and as such prior
approval is required and refused."
Always better to paraphrase so that they don't think it is an organised campagne but comes across of representative of a good cross section of the community.