Fringe Box



Phone Mast Height Increase Likely To Be Approved

Published on: 14 Sep, 2012
Updated on: 17 Sep, 2012

The O2 phone mast on the junction of Farnham Road and Wodeland Avenue

By Flora Windebank

A local councillor has admitted that there might be little the council can do to prevent the increase in height of a telephone mast by Farnham Road in Guildford.

Mobile telephone giant O2 set up the mast in 2008. The company is now putting forward plans to extend the mast by a further metre.

No official planning application has been submitted yet, but a few flyers have appeared around the residential area. Most residents spoken to were unaware of any new plans.

The flyers, stuck on lamp posts, are all local residents have heard about the plans so far

The high location means that the phone mast serves a large surrounding area. O2 explained the reasoning behind the decision to extend: “We have identified that we have a requirement to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Guildford and are proposing an upgrade to an existing base station on Farnham Road.

“The upgrade would require new antennas to be used at the site, these antennas require a slightly larger pole and as a result we are proposing to increase the height of the site by 1m.”

Local residents’ feelings were mixed about the plans. Many people protested against the original development, and the council originally rejected the proposals. One local resident told The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “Originally every single councillor voted against it. But they put in an appeal and the company won. I think people feel now there is no point in fighting it again. But I know a lot of the local people are not happy. No one from the company has ever put their hand on their heart and said there are no health risks.”

In answer to these health concerns, O2 were quick to reply that their phone masts are built in accordance with ‘stringent international guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’ and though they understand residents’ concerns, mobile phones would simply not work at all without phone masts.

Another local resident, Jo Radley, agreed with this view: “At the end of the day, everyone uses phones. If you benefit from using a phone you just have to accept it. I was originally against the proposals but the truth is, although everyone made such a fuss when it was first built, most people barely think about it now.”

Guildford Borough Council confirmed that local residents would be consulted on the project. A spokesperson said: ‘The conditions attached to the decision removed permitted development, which means planning permission would be required for any increase in height. This means that a planning application would need to be submitted and the adjoining neighbours would be consulted on the application.”

However, even if the local residents do object, Cllr Caroline Reeves said: “It could potentially be difficult to refuse an extension of one metre to an existing mast, especially one that was won at appeal.”

The mast at 17m is considered an eyesore by many residents

The main problem remaining for most of the residents is simply that, at 17 meters, it cannot really be hidden. Marian Paul, a local resident, told TDGN: “It really does stand out a bit, especially in winter when there are no trees to cover it up. Since it was put up most of us have got used to it, but we really wouldn’t want it to be any higher.”

Share This Post