5G mast plan described as 'hideous addition to beautiful area' refused

A mobile phone operator has appealed after it was blocked from putting a 20 metre high mast outside a Yorkshire sports club.

Sheffield Council planners refused to allow the monopole and six equipment cabinets to be erected next to Fulwood Bowling and Tennis Club on the corner of Chorley Road and Slayleigh Lane.

Mobile Broadband Network Limited said the mast was designed to replace coverage lost because of the redevelopment of the old Fulwood House site on Woofindin Road.

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It said 20m was the minimum height necessary to achieve the required 5G network coverage. But there were 21 letters of objection from residents, as well as the club and Coun Sue Alston.

The road outside Fulwood Sports Club in Sheffield

The mast was described by one resident as “a hideous addition to a beautiful area full of natural wildlife” and would be out of keeping.

Residents said the scale of the mast was inappropriate as it would be twice the height of the floodlights and five times higher than an existing fence.

It would be highly visible from within the sports club grounds and surrounding area and over dominate neighbouring houses.

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Planners said the area is residential apart from the club with two-storey detached houses. The sports club contains several tennis courts, a bowling green and a single storey clubhouse.

Officers refused the mast using delegated powers. They said: “The monopole would be of a diameter much wider than the street lamps in the locality and floodlighting columns in the sports club. It also has a cluster of antennae on its upper part.

“At 20m the mast would tower above the trees, existing street lighting columns, flood lighting columns and adjacent residential properties, being around twice the height of these existing features.

“It is clearly not of a scale, in height or girth, consistent with the residential character of the area.

“There is a cluster of mature deciduous trees and bushes close to where the mast is sited. They would offer some screening to the cabinets and the lower section of the mast but for a large majority of the year, in particular the autumn and winter months when the trees and bushes are not in leaf, the mast would be completely exposed and highly visible from the immediate street scene and wider area.

“The siting of the mast does little to disguise its inappropriate scale. The scale, siting and appearance of the mast significantly harms the street scene and the visual amenities of the locality.”

Planners accept the social and economic benefits and technical requirements of the 5G network but say this must be carefully balanced against the visual harm.

New installations should be kept to a minimum and operators should use existing buildings and masts where possible.

Mobile Broadband Network Limited has appealed saying permission for a mast 200m away on the corner of Stumperlowe Lane and Fulwood Road has also been refused and four alternative sites have not been suitable.