Appeal lodged after council rejects plans for 20m-high 5G mast in Houston

A telecoms company is continuing its fight to build a phone mast less than 100m away from an existing one in Houston after council chiefs refused its request.

CK Hutchison Networks – which operates Three – has appealed to the Scottish Government after failing to secure permission from Renfrewshire Council to erect the 20m-high 5G mast in Magnus Road.

Villagers staged a protest over the plans last year highlighting it is a highly-populated residential area and there is already a 4G mast approximately 70m away from the site in question which is considered an “eyesore”.

The council agreed with objectors that the phone mast would have a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the area and rejected a prior approval application.

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But CK Hutchison Networks has refused to take no for an answer and is hoping ministers will overturn the council’s decision.

Houston councillor Alison Dowling said she was “disappointed” an appeal had been lodged.

The Labour elected member said: “It gives the impression of trying to undermine public scrutiny.

“It’s really disappointing they have chosen to go down this route and I think the original decision by the council should be upheld.

“There is already a 20m-high mast in Magnus Road which sprung up almost overnight despite concerns from residents. The shock was palpable for people and some cannot look out their own windows without seeing it now.

“It feels like an affront on the whole idea local people have the power to make decisions.

“Everyone understands we need to have good telecoms infrastructure and there will be an impact on the environment we live in but we need to strike a balance or we could find ourselves in a situation where residential sites become overrun by rows and rows of masts.

“We also need to consider the impact of street furniture on the visually impaired because it’s not just the mast but the cabinet around it that can cause issues for people who struggle with their vision.”

A reporter is set to carry out a site visit soon and has spoken to a number of people who objected to the original application to gather their views.

A Three spokesman said: 5G rollout and improvements to our 4G network are vital for residents and businesses in Houston. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.

“Masts need to be situated where people will be using the service and, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage. Masts also need to be tall enough to transmit over nearby buildings and trees.

“After extensive searches and surveys to evaluate all the options, we have identified this as the ideal position for this mast to connect the people of Houston.

“Much of the original opposition to the mast came from its proximity to another mast, which our customers are unable to use to connect to our network. We hope the appeal will help us to restate our reasoning for the position and offer the best solution for the community.”

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Daily Record – Paisley