Woodley residents call on council to refuse planning permission for 5G phone mast

5G mast
Cllr Andy Croy stands in the spot where the new 5G mast would be installed in Woodley

RESIDENTS in Woodley are urging the council to refuse a planning application to install a 20 metre 5G phone mast in a park.

If approved, it would be twice the height of mature trees that are already in situ.

They say that it would be next to a playground, a Scout hut and 200 metres from Rivermead Primary School.

Instead, they want the mast, for EE and 3 mobile services, to be installed in a neighbouring industrial park.

If the mast is approved, it would be placed on green space in Vauxhall Park, off Vauxhall Drive.

It would be a monopole that would have six antenna and four dishes, plus eight ground-based cabinets. A fence would protect it from the public.

Cllr Shirley Boyt (Labour, Bulmershe and Whitegates) said: “We want the mast, just not in the park, especially as there’s an industrial park nearby.

“The park is a really pleasant place, it’s well-used by the public. Where they want to site the mast is a really nice wild area that people can walkthrough. There’s lots of squirrels and birds around too.”

She added: “People are very upset about it”.

Phone masts are allowed under permitted development rights, and companies have recently installed a mast in Winnersh and have had approval to install one in the car park of The Chequers pub in Woodley precinct despite resident opposition.

Residents have made their views clear, pointing out that there is great biodiversity of the park, including mature trees, hedgerows, nesting birds and bats.

Zsofia Kovacs said: “The park is used by most of the school’s population of over 412 children between the ages of 4 and 11 and their families. Furthermore, it is adjacent to a scout hut and would overshadow the playground.”

Edward Flint said: “This park is a lovely green space area where our grandchildren can enjoy the fresh air and play and we consider the erection of this type of equipment to be hazardous to our health.”

Jade Patek noted: “Our children need to see their world being protected and cared for, not destroyed for gain or profitability”.

MBNL is responsible for the management of the mast site.

A spokesperson said: “This site is required to replace an existing mast which is currently located at Headley Park Industrial Estate. Due to future redevelopment plans at the industrial estate we are required to relocate.

“The existing mast services a large population of both residents and businesses in the local area including providing critical coverage for the Emergency Services network.

“While we try to keep mast sites as unobtrusive as possible, they do need to be situated near to where people will be using the service and, in many cases, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.

“When dealing with a relocation of a site it is important that we replicate the coverage and reliability that customers of both EE and Three UK expect.

“Our agents submitted a Prior Approval application on 25/02/21 to Wokingham Borough Council, and they are undertaking the necessary consultations.

“As with any site, we strictly adhere to the planning policy framework which is in place to ensure development can take place in a fair and balanced way”.

The application is 210668, and can be viewed at planning. wokingham.gov.uk.

The consultation ends on Friday, March 26.

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