An 18-metre high 5G phone mast will be erected in a residential area after the applicant successfully appealed against the local authority's decision to refuse planning permission.

In July last year, Stevenage Borough Council refused to grant CK Hutchinson Networks (UK) Ltd permission to erect an 18-metre high Phase 8 Monopole, for 5G coverage, on land next to Fishers Green Road in Stevenage, on the edge of Fishers Green Common.

The telecom infrastructure company has appealed against the council's decision and an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has now allowed the appeal and granted prior approval for the works.

The inspector said: "The main issues in the appeal are the effects of the proposed development on the area’s character and appearance, and on the site’s archaeological interest."

He found the council's concerns regarding the mast's height and bulk "unfounded" as the "proposed design would involve a slim pole" and would have "a diameter no more than about twice that of the supporting pole itself".

The inspector said: "To my mind, this would have a neat and streamlined appearance."

While the appeal site lies within an Area of Archaeological Significance, the inspector said "the proposed development would have a very small footprint, of no more than a few square metres, and, as such, the impact
on the AAS as a whole would be negligible".

He also said "concerns expressed about vandalism are noted, but this possibility does not outweigh the need for full 5G coverage".

The inspector said evidence from the appellant demonstrates that a significant number of alternative sites have been considered, but were all found to be less suitable, and "the council accepts the need for the development, to ensure 5G coverage in the surrounding area".

In conclusion, the inspector said: "I have found that the proposed development would cause no significant adverse effects on the area’s character or appearance, nor on its archaeology.

"In these respects, the appeal proposal would comply with the relevant policies of the development plan.

"Having taken account of all the other matters raised, none changes or outweighs these conclusions. The appeal is therefore allowed."