A building that houses a children’s nursery, a pub and student flats will have three new mobile phone masts on its roof.
The masts were approved by just three members of Brighton and Hove City Council Planning Committee at a meeting before Christmas.
Two councillors voted against the planning application and the rest abstained.
Objectors spelt out their concerns on health grounds although whether phone masts are a danger is hotly disputed.
The antennas will go on the roof of Sussex House at 130 Western Road, Hove.
The building is fronted by The Providence pub and is home to Regent House Day Nursery which has places for 66 children.
The committee was told that if it voted down the application without strong grounds in planning law then the applicant could appeal and would be likely to win. This would probably end up costing the council money in legal fees and staff time.
The application to put up the masts was made on behalf of the T-Mobile and 3 networks by a company called MBNL (Mobile Broadband Network Limited).
Zachary Ellwood, the council’s interim senior team planner, told the committee that the masts were to replace existing telecoms equipment on the roof.
Mr Ellwood said that the proposal involved mast sharing by more than one mobile phone company, which the council encouraged.
It would also improve coverage in response to an identified need in that part of Brighton and Hove.
He also said that the level of emissions from the masts would fall well within recognised government safety guidelines.
He told the committee that the nursery was based on the ground floor and first floor and the flats – mostly for students – were on the upper floors.
Keith Taylor, Green councillor for St Peter’s and North Laine, pointed out that the council did not permit phone masts on its own buildings.
He was told that this was a decision made by the council as the owner of land and property. It could not count as a legal consideration when deciding a planning application.
Cllr Taylor voted against the proposal along with fellow Green Ian Davey, who also represents St Peter’s and North Laine.
The three who voted for the application were Cllrs Denise Cobb (Conservative, Westbourne), Juliet McCaffery (Labour, Preston Park) and Carol Theobald (Conservative, Patcham).
The committee chairman Cllr Linda Hyde (Conservative, Rottingdean Coastal) abstained as did fellow councillors Kevin Allen (Labour, Preston Park), Bob Carden (Labour, North Portslade), Ted Kemble (Conservative, Wish), David Smart (Conservative, Hangleton and Knoll), Paul Steedman (Green, Queen’s Park) and Geoff Wells (Conservative, Woodingdean).
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