New phone mast like ‘something out of space’ planned just feet from gardens in Chelmsford

A new 5G phone mast proposed just feet from back gardens in a Chelmsford street will look like “something from out of space”, local residents have claimed.

Don Townshend who faces a 15 metre phone mast at the bottom of his garden in Pickwick Avenue, in the Newland Spring area of the city, has added that the proposed phone mast from Three will also harm property prices.

Mr Townshend is now hoping Chelmsford City Council will reject the plans in the same way they the rejected another Three application close by in Avon Road earlier in 2021.

A report from Dalcour Maclaren – which has been commissioned to assist with the planning application – has revealed city council planning officers have major reservations over the application.

Mr Townshend said: “It’s horrendous. The tower will be about four feet away from my back garden behind the hedge.

“The other fear is the cabinet. They make a hell of a hum.

“Not only would you have this monstrosity towering over my garden, we would have the hum of the cabinet.

“It’s going to be a monstrosity – its not like having a lamppost outside, which we all accept. This is going to look like something out of space.

“Just the thought of having something like that to look on is horrendous.

“The aesthetics are appalling and goodness knows what it means for property prices.”

Three has said the proposed antenna will provided improve 4G and 5G coverage. The required improvements can only be provided by the installation of a new mast and existing sites were not suitable to support the required apparatus.

Neighbour Christine Goldstone said: “It’s going to so imposing. At 15 metres high it’s way above the rooftops.

“We wish to enjoy living here for many years to come but this mast would spoil the view and be intrusive, as it is directly behind the adjacent house and overlooking our house and garden.

“It’s so imposing and it is just in the wrong place. There are plenty of places out in the fields that will give it height and won’t obstruct people’s view and wont affect the enjoyment of their garden.”

The report from Dalcour Maclaren said: “The officer noted that the proposed mast would sit significantly above the adjacent buildings and will be highly visible in the street scene.

“The officer noted that alternative locations and designs should be considered, and kindly identified an area that may be more acceptable and suit the scale and type of proposed equipment. This site was reviewed but however was not feasible.

“The officer stated that the proposed development in this location was unlikely to be supported. However he had not reviewed the design, siting and appearance against additional information such as alternative locations which arguably balance the potential harm to the street scene and neighbouring amenity.”

A Three spokesperson said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Chelmsford. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.

“Masts need to be situated where people will be using the service and, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage. We carry out extensive searches and surveys to evaluate all the options.

“We then choose the option most likely to gain planning approval from the local council. This will include showing we have minimised the impact on residents and the locality.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter