Luton families' distress at 20-metre 5G phone mast 'towering' over gardens

Residents in a Luton street have been left distraught at the appearance of an "obtrusive" 20-metre phone mast towering over their gardens.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 6:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 6:32 pm
The larger than life mast appeared without warning, residents say

The 5G mast at 124 Crawley Green Road was erected on June 23 and furious residents say they received no warning in advance.

This is despite the application on the council's website, which insists a site notice was put up and 25 neighbours consulted.

Wendy Flecknell, of Blaydon Road, said she returned home from work on June 23 to find the 20-metre mast looming over her fence after trees were felled.

The mast as seen from Carolyn and Nicholas's home

"I can't talk about it too much because it's so upsetting," she said. "It's awful.

"Even if just one of the neighbours had received a letter, we all would have objected because we're quite close-knitted.

"But we've received nothing. The council said my letter must have got lost in the post and to ring Royal Mail."

Wendy's next door neighbours, Carolyn McGarry and her partner Nicholas Allen, were in the process of selling their home.

The mast towers over Wendy's garden

Mr Allen told Luton News: "I've just got an email that the buyers are pulling out, because of the mast."

He added that the estate agents have predicted a £25,000 to £40,000 loss on the property's value. The couple have already spent £5,000 in solicitor's fees.

Mr Allen said: "I've knocked on every door and not one of the neighbours had received any letter.

"I saw this going up and I said to the builders, 'Can you tell me what you're doing? There has been no planning application.'

"They said, 'Oh no, it's already been approved'. I went on the council website and it was all done very low key.

"There was no site notice."

The neighbours say it's unclear whether the mast has been positioned in accordance with the planning application, which described it to "the front" of 124 Crawley Green Road.

A Luton Borough Council spokesman said: "A number of residents have already been in touch with us regarding the installation of this phone mast.

"The head of our planning department recently visited the site to listen to neighbours’ views and explain the council’s position.

"We appreciate how frustrating it may be and sympathise with their concerns around its nature and positioning.

"The proposal for the installation of a telecom mast at this location is part of the national 5G Network roll-out programme, submitted to the council to consider under a “Prior Approval” process.

"As such we have limited ability to intervene and central government has been consistent through National Planning Policies and Ministerial announcements that there is a high expectation that these applications will be supported.

"Some neighbours have contacted us to say they did not get letters concerning this application. The council regrets they did not receive the letters we posted.

"We are only required either to put up a site notice or send out neighbour notification letters, however in this case we did both."