Sunderland planning chiefs reject plans for 5G mobile signal mast near Monkwearmouth Hospital

Plans for a new 5G mast near Monkwearmouth Hospital have been thrown out by council planners.

By Chris Binding
Friday, 21st January 2022, 6:00 am

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Sunderland City Council’s planning department received an application to install a mobile signal receiver in Newcastle Road late last year.

The submission sought to determine whether prior approval was needed to install a 15-metre high street pole and associated equipment cabinets.

The plans, by applicant CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd, were put forward as part of a drive to improve the capacity and coverage of mobile network services in the city, particularly in relation to 5G services.

Newcastle Road, Sunderland

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A supporting document submitted with the application said the proposed location for the new mast would “assimilate well into the immediate street scene and not be detrimental”.

It added that the proposed site option was the “best available compromise between extending 5G service across the target ‘coverage hole’ with the selected street works pole height and associated antenna and ground-based cabinets restricted to the minimum height which is capable of providing the required essential coverage”.

After considering the application, however, the city council’s planning department refused it on Wednesday, January 19.

In a decision notice published on the local authority’s website, planners said the development would cause harm to the visual amenity, character and appearance of the area.

The decision notice said: “The proposed installation, by virtue of its scale, siting, and design would introduce an obtrusive and over-dominant feature into the streetscape, resulting in demonstrable harm to the visual amenity, character and appearance of the area, contrary to the council’s Core Strategy and Development Plan Policies BH1 and BH6 and the National Planning Policy Framework paragraphs 118 and 130.”

The ruling follows several similar decisions by Sunderland City Council planners in 2021, including the refusal to permit 5G mast applications in the council’s St Chad’s ward, near the Dolphin pub, and near the Tunstall Hills beauty spot.

Applicants for the Newcastle Road mast have the right to appeal the council’s refusal by lodging an appeal with the government’s planning inspectorate.

For more information on the application, visit Sunderland City Council’s online planning portal and search reference: 21/02875/TEX

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