Telecoms mast plan near Hebburn pub refused by council planning chiefs

Proposed site for telecoms mast near 'The Clock\ pub in Hebburn. Picture: Google MapsProposed site for telecoms mast near 'The Clock\ pub in Hebburn. Picture: Google Maps
Proposed site for telecoms mast near 'The Clock\ pub in Hebburn. Picture: Google Maps
Plans for a 20-metre-high telecoms mast near a South Tyneside pub have been blocked by borough development bosses.

South Tyneside Council’s planning department has refused an application for a parcel of land off Victoria Road East in Hebburn, near The Clock public house in the town.

Applicant CK Hutchison Networks had originally applied to the local authority for permission to install the 20-metre slimline monopole and supporting antennas, as well as equipment cabinets.

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A supporting statement from the applicant, addressed to ward councillors, said the plans aimed to ensure provision of 3G, 4G and 5G services in the area.

The supporting statement added: “Mobile telecoms networks are now ubiquitous throughout the UK.

“It is an expectation that an individual can connect and use their mobile phone whenever and wherever they are.

“With the advent of new technology, under the banner of 5G, further advances are proposed and Central Government has seen the telecoms industry, and in particular 5G, to be at the forefront of economic development.”

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Those behind the scheme said that as 5G uses shorter frequencies than earlier technologies, additional sites are needed to address ‘gaps’ in coverage.

It is understood that several locations for a mast were considered before the site near The Clock public house in Hebburn was chosen.

After considering the planning application and assessing it against planning policies, South Tyneside Council’s planning department refused it on August 3, 2023.

The main reason for refusal included the visual impact of the telecoms mast, which was labelled as “incongruous” in a council decision report.

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Council planners said the mast would have an impact on nearby residential properties and was proposed to be installed in an area where there was no existing telecommunications equipment.

It was also noted that the area has an “intimate residential character” and that the mast would have a “stark” appearance in this context, being around “10-12 metres taller than the closest buildings and 7.5m taller than the closest streetlights”.

The council decision report added: “The siting and appearance of the proposed 20-metre-high telecommunications monopole, by virtue of its height and visibility in relation to the streetscene and proximity in direct view of front elevation habitable room windows in residential properties on Victoria Road East opposite, would give rise to an incongruous and unduly prominent feature when viewed from the streetscene and these dwellings which would be demonstrably harmful to visual amenity.”

The applicant has the right to challenge the council’s refusal decision by lodging an appeal with the Secretary of State.

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A Three UK spokesperson said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Hebburn.

“We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and our planners determined that this site was required to deliver it.

“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.

“We will consider the reasons for refusal carefully to decide our next steps in bringing good connectivity to the area.”

For more information on the planning application and council refusal decision, visit South Tyneside Council’s planning portal website and search reference: ST/0290/23/TPN