'Needs of the many outweigh the few' as telephone mast plans approved
- Credit: Google
A controversial bid to build a new telephone mast to bring better mobile signals to thousands of homes and businesses has been given the green light.
Concerns about the visual impact of the proposed 17.5m mast on the site of the existing telephone exchange base station on Langley Road, Chedgrave, prompted a number of objections from those living nearby.
However, at a meeting of South Norfolk District Council's development management committee, held online on January 28, councillors unanimously approved the proposals, put forward by Telefonica UK, saying the benefits to the wider community outweighed the harms.
Speaking at the meeting on behalf of objectors from Norwich Road and Rectory Lane, public objector Ross Warminger said: "While we are supportive of the better signal and understand the mast is required, we are against the proposed position.
"Surely a mast of this size should be in a rural position, or away from residential properties.
"It is out of context with the heart of our village and will overshadow all of our back gardens when outside space has never been more important for our wellbeing."
A similar proposal was rejected by the council in 2017, with the new design deemed to be "less bulky" and a further 30m west.
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The new plans, which had been backed by Chedgrave Parish Council, will see the 17.5m monopole mast built with shrouded antennas and two 0.6m diameter transmission dishes.
Ahead of the meeting, the council received 13 letters of objection and 38 letters of support for the proposal.
Speaking on behalf of Telefonica, agent Darren Fradgley said: "There will be some visual impact but that is unfortunately an unavoidable technical necessity to remedy the long-standing poor coverage in Loddon and Chedgrave.
"The public benefits of mobile connectivity are well known and are increasingly central to how we conduct our lives.
"This is reflected in the large number of representations of support councillors have received from certain sections of the local community."
Ward councillor Kay Mason Billig said around 3,000 people in Loddon and Chedgrave have an "unacceptable weak or non-existent" signal.
Councillor Graham Minshull said: "I can understand the objectors and I probably wouldn't want to look out of my windows at it myself.
"However, in this case, the needs of the many outweigh the few and a good mobile phone signal these days is vital."