Chadwell Heath residents demand to know how 5G mast got through Redbridge planning without public being made aware

Redbridge Council is “urgently investigating” a 10-metre 5G mast installed on a former art deco cinema in Chadwell Heath, seven months after residents first complained.

The Chadwell Heath South Residents’ Association (CHSRA) wrote to the council on February 4 objecting to the large mast being built on the Mayfair Venue in High Road.

Residents complained that the bulky mast ruined the look of the building and asked why they had not been given an opportunity to object to it.

In July, Redbridge Council’s planning committee refused an application for a mast on a patch of grass in South Woodford on the grounds it would be “visually intrusive and overly prominent”.

Residents association chairman Rama Muraleetharan said: “We have nothing against technological advancements in telecommunications, but this tower is a monstrosity.

“It is visually intrusive and does not fit in with local architecture at all, especially as the building is situated in the residential part of Chadwell Heath High Road with housing surrounding it.

“There are plenty of better suited sites close by in the industrial part of Chadwell Heath.

“People are so aggrieved by this, I get questions about it all the time. It has just blighted the skyline completely.

“This case should have been discussed in a planning committee hearing, but residents of Chadwell Heath were never granted that opportunity.”

The residents association asked the council in 2016 to have the former art deco cinema, built in the 1930s, locally listed but was reportedly told there were “not enough resources to do so”.

Mr Muraleetharan added: “Developments such as this monstrous 5G tower prove why we need to add a layer of protection to these historic buildings. The local list must be updated.”

A spokesperson for telecoms company MNBL, co-owned by EE and Three, said they were aware of a complaint about the mast but had “provided all necessary documentation”.

They said they had submitted an “application for prior approval for siting and design” to Redbridge Council, as required by planning law.

Redbridge Council failed to confirm or deny the statement from MNBL and did not respond to questions about whether the mast had been discussed by the planning committee.

A spokesperson said: “We’re aware of the installation of the mast at the Mayfair Venue, and we’ll be urgently investigating whether or not this contravenes planning regulations.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter