5G mast plan for Lodge Causeway is rejected
A MOBILE phone network's bid to build a new a new mast for its 5G network on a busy Fishponds street has been thrown out.
An application to Bristol City Council on behalf of 3's parent company CK Hutchison Networks (UK) to site the mast in Lodge Causeway has been rejected by planning officers using delegated powers.
The 15m (49ft) antenna would have stood on the pavement near the junction with Chester Park Road, between the SM Gauge Company and the pedestrian crossing.
Agents WHP Telecoms said the antenna would "provide improved coverage and capacity, most notably in relation to 5G services" and the site chosen met "specific technical and operational requirements".
They said 5G needed different equipment to existing networks, and antennas needed to be separated from other equipment, including those belonging to a different operator.
The agents said the antenna was the "absolute minimum" size needed and site had been chosen because there were already other "vertical elements of street furniture" nearby, such as street lights.
After the plans were published on the council's website, 33 people wrote to object, with two writing letters of support.
Many of the objectors said they were concerned that 5G signals could affect health and the environment.
However the council report detailing the decision said: "It is noted that the application cannot be considered on health grounds as these do not form part of the relevant criteria."
Council officers said the applicants had confirmed the equipment would conform to the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection's guidelines for public health exposure.
Instead they rejected the scheme on the grounds of the mast's physical appearance and position.
They said: "The proposed development would result in unjustified harm upon the character and appearance of Lodge Causeway.
"The scale of the proposed telecommunications equipment would be disproportionate when compared with other built structures in the surrounding area and would subsequently appear incongruous.
"The position of the equipment adjacent to the public highway and within direct view of neighbouring residential development would make it highly visible and prominent in the surrounding area. This would be discordant within the wider streetscene."
The officers went on to say that the siting of the mast "would not allow sufficient room for footway users to pass the installation along an established desire line and would be a severe obstruction, which could also prejudice the usability of adjacent cycle parking".
They added: "It has not been demonstrated that these harmful impacts are essential to deliver the associated benefits."
Officers pointed to a recent appeal in Stockwood where an inspector included the "significant, negative visual impact" and "incongruous and dominant height of the mast" among the reasons for refusing to allow it.
Picture: The red line indicates where the mast would have stood and its approximate height