Saturday, 23 October 2021

Residents win fight over 15m 5G phone mast

Residents win fight over 15m 5G phone mast

PLANS to install a 15m high 5G phone mast in Henley have been rejected following a backlash from residents who said it would be an “eyesore”.

CK Hutchison Networks was refused permission by South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, to put the mast on the verge outside Swiss Farm in Marlow Road.

The council said it would be “visually intrusive” and “incongruous” in a prominent position on the A4155.

The decision notice said the mast would fail to conserve the landscape qualities of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and would detract from the setting of the adjacent Henley conservation area.

“This identified harm is not outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal,” added the council.

The decision was welcomed by the Borlase family, who own Swiss Farm.

In a letter to this week’s Henley Standard, they said: “We would like to send a resounding thank-you to all the people in Henley, the surrounding area and further afield, who so vigorously supported us in objecting to the erection of a 5G mast on our frontage at Swiss Farm. 

“More sensitivity must surely be shown towards the positioning of these ugly pieces of street furniture in our beautiful countryside and the questionable effects on their surroundings.”

CK Hutchison Networks says it is in the process of building the UK’s fastest 5G network and argued that the design of the mast would minimise the visual impact on the street scene by “integrating with the existing street furniture”.

There were 77 objections to the application with the majority of residents being unhappy about the impact on the conservation area, the appearance of the mast and fears over microwave radiation.

Joseph Borlase, managing director of the Swiss Farm holiday park, said the mast would “ruin” the approach to Henley for drivers coming from the Marlow direction and he was concerned about the “unknown effects” of the mast.

His parents, Stephen and Karin, who live about 20 yards from the proposed location, said:  “Apart from the questionable health risks associated with these installations for all those living in their shadow, it would be a constant eyesore, not only to anyone entering or leaving the town along our leafy road, but also to all the residents of the Swiss Farm Park homes and the thousands of tourists who we welcome each year from all parts of the world. It would be visible from every corner of our beautiful camping fields.”

Antony Duckett, of Marlow Road, said: “The siting of this mast is entirely inappropriate, directly in front of an attractive house on entry to the town. If a mast is required, there is open space on the opposite side of the road and the siting there would affect no residential dwellings and would be practically invisible to anyone.”

David Ryan-Bell, of Marlow Road, said: “I am all in favour of modern technology but I do feel that this must be tempered with a reality check on the effects this would have.”

Betty Tarry, who also lives in Marlow Road, said the mast would be “ugly”.

Keith Knight, who lives at Swiss Farm, said the mast could put the health of residents like him at risk.

“The roofs of these homes are metal with a finish which looks like tiles. The metal will inevitably absorb the pulsing waves which come from a mobile phone mast and it is therefore not acceptable on health grounds.”

Henley Town Council and the Henley Society, a conservation group, both opposed the application.

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