Published: 15:16, 02 July 2021
| Updated: 20:10, 02 July 2021
People have raised fears over potential health problems and falling property prices in their bid to stop a mobile phone mast being put up near a popular pub.
CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd wants to erect an 18-metre monopole in Sturdee Avenue, Gillingham, near The Cricketers.
It says it will improve coverage, particularly in relation to super-fast 5G services, and other suitable spots "are extremely limited".
Documents lodged with Medway Council say: "Three are in the process of building out the UK’s fastest 5G network. To bring this new technology to the people, CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Ltd will need to provide a mix of upgrades to existing sites and the building of new sites."
It says new masts are needed as the higher radio frequencies used for 5G do not travel as far as the current frequencies. Not all existing equipment can be upgraded, and "in this area there is an acute need for a new mast".
The application concludes: "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."
However, several people who live nearby have objected, citing fears over exposure to radio waves, a potential reduction in property prices, possible problems with vandalism and arson by anti-5G protestors, and noise from both the equipment cabinets and mast.
Those against the idea include Dan Campbell, who lives 300 metres away in Sturdee Avenue.
In his written objection to Medway Council, he argues there are four schools less than one kilometre, as the crow flies, from the proposed site. Barnsole Road Infants and Primary, Robert Napier Secondary, Woodlands Primary and Napier Nursery and Primary have more than 3,000 pupils who, he says, would be "subject to six hours close proximity to this mast, for five days per week".
He said: "The industrial estate in Twydall on Ito Way would be a far superior site in order to service the outlined desired customer base, and would be located from a slightly farther proximity from residential properties."
Father-of-five Kevin Cole, who also lives in Sturdee Avenue, said: "This is an area with a number of families with both old and young children and I'm concerned around the health issues.
"Aside from this, the monopole is going to be ugly and unsightly.
"All residents I have spoken to feel this monopole is unneccessary and the negatives far outweigh the benefits.
"It's us that will have to live with this structure. I for one don't think we should."
The application to determine if prior approval is needed for the mast has been submitted to Medway Council and is pending a decision.