Neighbours oppose plan for 5G mast on roof of Hove flats

Neighbours are fighting plans to instal a 5G mobile phone mast on the roof of their building and cabinets in the garden.

Mobile phone companies EE and Three have submitted a joint application to instal six masts on Coombe Lea, a 1960s block in Grand Avenue, within The Avenues Conservation Area in Hove.

Telecommunication company Walden, which is managing the application for the two companies, sent out 84 letters in January to residents.

Five of them raised concerns before the planning application was submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council in March.

Since then, 28 people have written to object to the plans and two have sent letters of support.

A resident, Serena Mitchell, set up a Twitter account @Stop5gHove, with videos sharing opponents’ concerns.

Ms Mitchell said: “I was horrified to receive a letter in early January from Waldon, a Surrey-based engineering company acting on behalf of Three and EE, telling me they were submitting a planning application to instal six large mobile phone masts and a network base station on our roof.

“There are over 150 people living and working in this block 24 hours a day, including elders and families with young children.

“The majority of us are really worried that this unsolicited proposal will damage our ageing block, devalue our property and cause both noise and environmental pollution.”

She said that she was concerned about the impact on the conservation area as the modern block was close to a number of listed buildings. The equipment cabinets would be in the block of flats’ garden.

Ms Mitchell added: “Our home is visible from all the surrounding streets and seafront, with many listed and heritage buildings.

“These ugly masts will totally overshadow our neighbourhood and the listed Hove war memorial, which is right on our doorstep.”

Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson, who represents Central Hove ward, has spoken with neighbours and is concerned about the effect on the conservation area.

Councillor Wilkinson said: “It seems totally inappropriate to place a highly visible mast station on the roof of an ageing residential block slap bang in the middle of a conservation area.

“I am concerned that the mobile phone companies have not considered other options for network expansion, such as siting their masts on the roofs of commercial buildings.”

Coombe Lea in Hove – Picture by Serena Mitchell

Comments on the council’s website include concerns about the effect on nesting birds on the roof and whether the 1960s building is designed for such heavy equipment.

One commenter, whose details were redacted on the council website, described the proposals as “overkill”, saying that there were masts on the new Waterfront building on the former Texaco garage site.

In the application, EE and Three included documents explaining how 5G technology was part of the country’s “telecoms future” and how it would benefit council.

Brighton and Hove has a “5G testbed” and is in the process of creating a three-mile ring of fibre-optic cables linking the universities, college buildings and public library.

EE and Three also said that the next generation of smartphones was a “small part” of wider mobile connectivity.

It said: “The next generation of mobile telephony is 5G and it brings a revolutionary approach to managing spectrum and greatly increasing data speeds.

“The advantages this presents range from near-instant downloads of HD films to connected cars, smart medical devices and smart cities.”

The application can be inspected – and comments left – on the council’s website by searching for BH2021/00799.

  1. Jonathan Simons Reply

    At least we have confirmation thst Gary WIlkinson is part of the tin foil hat brigade – looking forward to voting him out in 2023.

    • hove75 Reply

      I think you’ll find the councillor is objecting to the placing of masts in a conservation area and suggesting another placement. Not against 5G. No tin foil story here.

    • Chaz. Reply

      At least we have confirmation that Gary Wilkinson is alive and well.
      He doesn’t reply to residents issues or concerns so we wondered where he had gone to.

      • Mick Reply

        Well he obviously does if you read the article and has regularly championed residents views in the press. More than some councillors.

      • Mick Reply

        He is regularly in the press championing residents issues. More than many councillors. Reading the article clearly evidences him representing concerns.

        • Chaz. Reply

          Are you Gary’s partner Mick?
          Stop defending him blindly. He is atrocious.

          • Katy

            Are you his ex. No wonder you don’t hear or see him!

  2. Hove Guy Reply

    Notice how is states “how it would benefit council”.

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