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Concern at Three UK’s plan for mobile phone mast beside children’s play area in Cambridge

A group of councillors has called for plans to put up a telephone mast next to a children’s play area in Chesterton to be withdrawn.

Three UK have submitted proposals to Cambridge City Council to install a 20-metre tall mobile phone mast and associated boxes at ground level on Cam Causeway.

A mobile phone mast
A mobile phone mast

The mast, in a residential area, would be taller than the tree canopy.

Labour councillor Gerri Bird was made aware of the plan by residents, who had been notified of the application, and has joined forces with fellow city councillors Carla McQueen and Baiju Thittala and Cambridgeshire county councillor Elisa Meschini to demand the application is withdrawn.

“It is extraordinary that a mobile phone company would want to build a phone mast seven metres above the tallest tree literally next to a children’s play area,” said Cllr Bird.

“We would ask Three that they immediately withdraw the application, being in a completely inappropriate location only across the road from the nearest house.

“We understand the need to upgrade our digital infrastructure and there are plenty of locations only a stone’s throw from the park on the industrial areas north of the busway.

“If they don’t, we will obviously vigorously oppose the plan and hope that members of the planning committee see what a terrible location this is to build the mast.”

Cllr Meschini added: “Three must surely know building such a large structure in the middle of a residential area next to a play park will be deeply unpopular with residents.

Plans for a phone mast in Chesterton. Picture: Part of the planning application by Three
Plans for a phone mast in Chesterton. Picture: Part of the planning application by Three

“I hope they will listen to our concerns and that of people living in the area. We are more than happy to constructively engage with Three in finding a suitable alternative.

“Clearly, not only is the mast in an inappropriate location it will also have a negative visual impact being over a third higher than the top of the tree canopy.”

A Three spokesperson said: “5G and improved 4G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Cambridge.We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and a new site will be critical to making that happen. We are happy to discuss the site with the council.”

It added that international safety guidelines protect all the community and 5G uses slightly shorter wavelengths than previous generations, so do not travel as far as 2, 3 and 4G wavelengths and cannot pass into buildings as easily. It is one of the reasons that 5G antennae need greater height than 2, 3 or 4G.

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