Residents protest against location of proposed phone mast

The 5G mast in Houston, Renfrewshire, would be less than 100m away from an existing 4G one.

Residents protest against location of proposed phone mast iStock

Dozens of villagers are up in arms over a proposed phone mast set to be built less than 100m away from an existing one.

Residents in Houston, Renfrewshire, have been told CK Hutchison Networks – which operates Three in the UK – is planning to erect a 20m-high 5G mast in Magnus Road.

Agents Dot Surveying has argued 5G networks are “crucial” to drive productivity and growth for people and businesses.

But villagers are angry about the plan given the vast number of homes in the surrounding Craigends area, plus the fact there is a 4G Vodafone mast approximately 70m away.

Wendy Millar, who lives in nearby Claymore Drive, said the mast would be one of the first things she would see coming out of her house if it was built.

She said: “I am beyond angry at the close proximity of this planned mast to the other one already in place.

“It’s the first thing I would see if I was to sit in the garden or open my window. Why they need to be so close together in a highly-populated residential area doesn’t make sense to me.

“There is a huge amount of opposition to it and if it does get to a formal planning stage then I do believe we will have a number of people willing to put in objections.

“There are a lot of questions to be asked.”

No formal application has yet been submitted to the council but residents were asked for their views ahead of proposals being lodged by Dot Surveying.

However, Houston and Crosslee councillor Alison Dowling insists villagers were not given enough time to respond to the consultation and has urged council officers not to accept any plans.

Residents were given a fortnight to share their views on the planned location of the mast.

Councillor Dowling said: “Following concerns raised by constituents around the short timescale they had to respond to the pre-consultation notice, I spoke with the representative of the developer to request an extension to allow local people adequate time to respond, which was refused.

“I was told this wasn’t possible as it would push back a planned formal application submission to the council.

“I strongly support improvements to our telecommunications network. However, I share constituent concerns around the proposed location of a new mast.

“Constituents have questioned why residents in more rural areas are seeing little progress in their data connectivity, while additional capacity is being proposed for areas that are already well-served.

“The existing mast is already seen as an eyesore, entirely out of proportion with all other buildings in the area. Adding a second mast in close proximity would further impact the appearance of the residential area.

“I would urge council officers not to accept the proposal or at the very least ask for a full planning application to be submitted by the developer, therefore allowing meaningful consultation with residents.”

In the consultation email, Dot Surveying said: “Following recent survey work, an option has been identified to extend connectivity at Magnus Road, offering the potential to enable planning for 5G implementation.

“The widespread coverage of mobile connectivity is essential for people and businesses. As well as improved mobile signal, 5G networks are also crucial to drive productivity and growth.

“The significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates the urgent need for the next generation of mobile connectivity to allow people to work and learn from home.”

By local democracy reporter Steph Brawn

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