01:00PM, Thursday 10 June 2021
More than 200 Marlow residents have objected to a 5G mast being built close to houses towards the entrance to the town.
A total of around 245 comment letters have been entered into the Wycombe portion of the Buckinghamshire Council planning portal – despite the portal being down for several days over the weekend and earlier this week.
The vast majority of the letters were in objection to the proposals.
The proposal is for an 18m tall mast, above the tree line in the area, which stretches up to around 15m.
It would be placed ‘right next to the main road’ into Marlow, Henley Road, not far from Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers pub.
The mast, proposed by mobile company Three, is set to be built on the roadside verge.
Residents say this would put it too close to the well-used footpath, restricting its width and affecting the many people who use it.
They are also concerned about the 'visual clutter' of a large mast on a tree-lined street.
Further concerns were raised about the overall impact on an area of ‘particular beauty’, damaging its tourist appeal.
“(This road) symbolises the entrance to (our) beautiful town. A town that prides itself on being a picturesque place away from the pollution of cities,” wrote one objector.
“A mast will look intrusive and unsightly and gives the wrong type of feeling when you enter.”
Other residents raised concerns about how close the mast would be to many residents given the population density of the area, and the gradient of the land.
Different suitable locations suggested as more suitable include Marlow Sports Club and ‘Happy Valley’ to the rear of Beechwood Drive.
As part of the application, Three’s representatives said: “The height of the pole has been kept down to the absolute minimum capable of providing the required essential new 5G coverage.
“The proposed equipment has been strategically located on the grass verge at Henley Road and therefore has no impact on pedestrian flow or safety.
“The site benefits from some screening provided by the surrounding tall trees. Existing street furniture will enable the equipment to blend into the surrounding street scene.
“We have carefully placed and designed the scheme to ensure the principles of good siting and appearance are adhered to.”
A Three spokesperson said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Marlow. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this mast will be critical to making that happen.
“While we try to keep mast sites as unobtrusive as possible, they do need to be situated near to where people will be using the service and, in many cases, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.
“All mast applications Three submits are designed with accessibility for all in mind and we will work with the highway authority to ensure there is the required pavement width to ensure all users have access.”
Residents also noted their ‘shock’ at having had 'virtually no notification' as neighbours living close to the proposed site of the mast, by post, nor notices displayed in the area.
However, a Buckinghamshire Council spokesman said: "A site notice was displayed for three weeks in Henley Road to advertise the application, in line with statutory requirements, inviting comments by June 4."
"In addition a public notice was put in the Bucks Free Press and letters were sent to the properties closest to the proposed site."
To see all materials relating to this development, visit the Bucks Council planning portal, under the Wycombe area, and enter reference 21/06263/PNP16A.
Police were called to the River Thames between Cookham and Bourne End yesterday at about 3pm, to reports that a teenage boy had entered the water but hadn’t been seen to leave.