Published: 05:00, 27 October 2021
| Updated: 17:45, 27 October 2021
A towering 5G mast standing almost 70ft tall would inflict “permanent damage” on Canterbury if erected on a major route into the city, residents fear.
Mobile network Three is hoping to build the imposing structure in New Dover Road to boost phone coverage, but opponents are concerned it will spoil historic views of the cathedral.
With a wraparound cabinet at its base, the mast would stand 20 metres tall - the height of more than four stacked double-decker buses.
Three wants to site it on a prominent grassy island splitting the carriageway, where it would be surrounded by houses and twice as tall as surrounding trees.
Objectors have branded the idea “unsightly and inappropriate”, saying the “ugly installation...would blight this pleasant open space”.
Sophie Scott said: “However much a mast is needed, this site is wholly unsuitable.
“The mast and its adjuncts would block the view of the World Heritage Site for all those approaching from the east.
“For all those who live or study nearby, the massive industrial cabinets close to the road are a very poor substitute for the present outlook of green trees and open space.”
Calling for an alternative that is “easier on the eye”, Richard Bell commented: “This part of New Dover Road is a beautiful green space and this ugly tower will completely change the view at the end of my road, and the view of the green space to anyone travelling in or out of the city.”
Denis Linfoot added his fears that the mast’s “extraordinary” height and location “on the best tourist route into Canterbury” would inflict “significant and permanent damage” on the city and its economy.
Harry Macdonald, who lives near the site, welcomes the prospect of having a mast near his house to boost phone signal.
But he says the proposed location is “quite inappropriate as it will be directly in the line of sight of the historic view of the cathedral as seen by those entering the city along New Dover Road”.
The plans have been submitted to Canterbury City Council by CK Hutchison Networks UK Ltd, which operates Three, in a bid to determine whether the authority’s approval is required for the project.
Planning documents say new masts are needed to make Three’s 5G service faster and able to handle more data.
The firm says there is “an acute need” for a mast in the area, adding: “The site selection process has also been influenced by the numerous vertical elements of street furniture distributed around the vicinity of the site, including street lighting columns.”
It adds there are “high-reaching mature trees dispersed around the surrounding area”.
The plans continue: “The height of the pole has been kept down to the absolute minimum capable of providing the required essential new 5G coverage.
'Masts needs to be situated where people will be using the service and, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage...'
“This equipment is considered unlikely to have any material impact on the local area, but significant connectivity improvements which is a material consideration in the judgment of the site’s suitability.”
A Three spokesperson said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses in Canterbury. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.
“Masts needs to be situated where people will be using the service and, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage. We carry out extensive searches and surveys to evaluate all the options.”
View the plans on click here, under reference CA/21/02443.