Schools ‘not told’ about proposed 5G mast in Hove

A head teacher and a school governor are concerned that a mobile phone mast was approved without proper consultation.

Planning officers approved a new 20-metre high 5G mast on the corner of The Upper Drive and Old Shoreham Road in May under delegated powers.

A notice was posted at the site – on the eastern side of the street – and a public consultation took place during the coronavirus lockdown lockdown when the school was closed.

Cottesmore St Mary’s Primary School head teacher Rachel Breen and Cardinal Newman Catholic School governor Samer Bagaeen, who is also a councillor, said that neither school had received a letter about the plans from Brighton and Hove City Council.

Many of Cardinal Newman’s 2,300 secondary school pupils routinely walk past the mast site in The Upper Drive.

It is also on the route for many of the 425 younger pupils who go to Cottesmore as well as those attending Brighton Girls Juniors and students at nearby BHASVIC.

Mrs Breen is concerned that many families who would normally walk to school past the mast site did not see any notices because of the lockdown.

She said: “I would be concerned regarding reduced capacity on the pavement as we know that it is a busy road at certain times of the day with many Newman and Cottesmore students. It’s busy enough without the space reduction.”

Councillor Bagaeen, a professor of planning who represents Hove Park ward on the council, agreed with Mrs Breen about the pavement.

He said that he was trying to find out why the company chose a site with such potential for pedestrian congestion by three schools.

He added that the companies behind the plans – Vodafone and the mobile phone infrastructure firm Cornerstone that it part owns – need permission from the council’s highways department before installing the assorted boxes and mast.

Councillor Bagaeen also investigated why Cardinal Newman received no notice of the plans and found that the council had sent information to the wrong address.

The council’s planning department sent a list of the addresses contacted about the plans and Cottesmore, in The Upper Drive, was missed off the list entirely.

But the list included the former St Mary’s School, in Radinden Manor Road, which became part of Cardinal Newman in 1971, and “Newman School Canteen Brighton And Hove High School Junior Department Radinden Manor Road”.

Cardinal Newman sold the site to Brighton and Hove High – now Brighton Girls – about 20 years ago.

Councillor Samer Bagaeen

The council was approached twice to find out why planners used the wrong address.

Councillor Bagaeen said: “Where do they get the list? They probably meant us (Cardinal Newman), but we’ve not been called Newman or St Mary’s for a very long time.”

An email went out from Sitec Infrastructure Services on behalf of Cornerstone and Vodafone on Friday 20 March.

Councillor Bagaeen said: “I think I was the only one to respond. By Monday 23 March we were in lockdown and had other priorities.”

He said that he was frustrated that Cornerstone’s planning statement said that letters were sent on Monday 9 March.

An officer approved the plans, which received nine letters of objection, on Friday 22 May.

Councilor Bagaeen said that his hopes of taking the decision to a judicial review had been frustrated because there was a six-week time limit which had not been extended despite the covid-19 crisis.

Sitec Infrastructure Services was approached for comment.

  1. Law Reply

    Here we go. We need mobile infrastructure including 5g. Again NIMBYISM at it’s best.

    • Eva Reply

      we might need mobile infrastructures that have been 100% proven safe and that are not installed right on top of the most vulnerable groups of people such as the young student ranging from the age of 3 to 18.

    • Robert Reply

      Which company do you work for? Sitec, Cornerstone or Vodafone? This is not NIMBYISM. This is protecting and safeguarding our children. 4G masts are also not given permission next to schools for the same reason.

      The behaviour of the planning officers smacks of negligence or corruption. I sincerely worry it’s the latter.

    • Fiona Reply

      No, not NIMBYism, just self preservation. 5G not needed, just desired by the uneducated.

      Educate yourself sir!

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