A revised plan for a 5G mobile phone pole near a popular beauty spot in Birmingham has been labeled a “monster pole” as it faces new opposition. CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd, owner of the Three mobile network, has unveiled a new plan for a 5G telecoms mast on the edge of Sutton Park on Monmouth Drive in Sutton Coldfield.
The proposed site is on a grassy edge, near the entrance to the Boldmere Golf Course, and just above facing the junction of Monmouth Drive and Melrose Avenue. The location is on the road side of the golf course, near the course clubhouse, and within a space between trees.
The company had previously applied for permission for a 20-meter 5G mast, including three equipment cabinets, at the same location last October. That proposal received 107 objections, including from residents, councilors and Royal Sutton Coldfield City Council, along with more than 50 signing a petition, with only one letter of support.
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And that plan was scrapped by Birmingham City Council planners. Planning Director Ian MacLeod said in a decision notice: “By virtue of appearance and location, the proposal would adversely affect the visual appearance and significance of a designated heritage asset (Registered Historic Park and Garden), consisting of in a medieval Deer Park within Grade II Sutton Park.”
AND “The proposed development for reasons of its appearance and location would appear to be a dominant and incongruous feature within the street scene that would be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area and the outlook of the 123 and 125 Monmouth Drive homes.”
The decision notice also criticized the mobile giant for providing insufficient evidence to show that there were “no potential suitable alternative sites available in less sensitive locations” for the mast and equipment.
But less than three months after receiving the rejection notice, the Three network reapplied for pre-approval for a mast, this time 50 feet tall, 25 percent lower than the last mast, again with three cabinets. The mast and cabinets would be gray in color.
Three said it was “committed to providing better network coverage and capacity, especially in relation to 5G services.” He said high-speed mobile connectivity was the “lifeblood of a community” providing educational and business benefits, providing access to services, enabling people to work from home and enabling leisure activities such as gaming and social networking.
The company admitted that this was a resubmission of their previous proposal, this time “using a smaller mast to make this proposal acceptable.” He said: “There is a great need for a new base station to provide effective service coverage and in this case the height of the proposed street pole is the minimum required to bring the benefits of 5G to this area.”
It is noteworthy that he used the same wording regarding the ‘minimum’ height when he requested a 20 meter mast. Three added: “We would encourage the planning authority to support this application to cover the surrounding population.”
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Bu Sutton Vesey city and town councilor Rob Pocock, who led the opposition to the last mast, has again criticized the new plans. He said that he would be ‘raising a new request’.
Cllr Pocock said: “This mast is still a monster, 48ft tall and once again facing Sutton Park National Nature Reserve. It is also a great distraction at the road junctions of Melrose Avenue and the entrance to the Boldmere Golf Club. This is simply not the right place for a massive piece of hardware like this, and it should be rejected once again.”
The public consultation period ends on 4 April and comments can be made on the Birmingham City Council planning portal quoting the application number: 2023/00852/PA
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