Appeal to build 5G mast outside church rejected

CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd's plans for a 3 network 5G mast outside Royston Evangelical Church

CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd's plans for a 3 network 5G mast outside Royston Evangelical Church - Credit: CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd

A contentious planning application to build an 18m 5G mast outside a church in Royston has been rejected following an appeal from the developers.

Earlier this year, developers Hutchison 3G attempted to appeal the decision to refuse the mast, which was to be built on Old North Road outside Royston Evangelical Church.

At the end of last month Hutchison's appeal was dismissed, meaning the mast cannot be built except in the event of a further appeal at High Court.

The planning inspectorate initially rejected the mast because its height and design did not allow it to visually assimilate into its surroundings, it would dominate the view from many residential properties, and the 5G coverage would not benefit many residents who already have high broadband speeds.

Matthew O'Brien, who lives near the proposed site of the mast and who urged the planning inspectorate to refuse the appeal, said: "It is possible to get terrible planning applications like this thrown out if the community works together and objects in the right way.

"While this mast will not be built, I'm sure more applications for others in equally inappropriate locations (possibly nearby this one) could occur in the area in the coming years.

"Hopefully Hutchison will now reconsider and put the mast in a far more appropriate location, like the industrial estates located nearby, where we can all enjoy the benefits of 5G without having massive masts placed in our low-rise residential areas!"

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Councillor Fiona Hill, who represents Royston East and Ermine ward on the county council, and North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald, both helped assist in rejecting the proposal.

Sir Oliver said: "I was delighted that the opposition to the proposed mast in Old North Road was successful.

"It is hard to imagine how dreadful it would have been to have such a tall mast in such a prominent site on a main road in North Royston. I helped the objectors and objected too.

"There are plenty of places in the industrial areas of the town which could be considered for a mast.

"The Inspector gave a strong judgement highlighting the failings of the application."