A planned 20-metre telecoms pole in a leafy part of Hereford has become the latest in the city to be refused permission.

CK Hutchinson Networks (UK), which manages the Three mobile phone network, wanted to put up the 20m “slimline monopole” and associated equipment cabinets on a section pavement at the junction of the A465 Aylestone Hill and Folly Lane, by Hereford Sixth Form College.

It had applied to Herefordshire Council for so-called prior approval under a government-backed planning route intended to simplify the approval process in order to upgrade the country’s telecoms network.


The spot, within the Aylestone Hill conservation area, “is identified as the most suitable option that balances operational need with local planning policies and national planning policy guidance”, a letter from the company’s agent said.

But the council’s senior building conservation officer Conor Ruttledge said that “by virtue of scale, form and positioning, the proposed telecommunications mast and associated cabinet infrastructure… would be overtly alien, and would be a dominate feature from multiple viewpoints throughout the conservation area”.

Want to stay up to date with all the latest news for Herefordshire? It's easy, just sign up for our free daily afternoon news briefing here and the day's top stories will be delivered straight to your inbox.

The council’s tree officer said the company would need to submit an arboricultural report confirming that putting up the pole would not damage roots of nearby mature trees – the tallest of which, at 18 metres, would have been two metres shorter than the mast.

The plan also drew 29 letters of objection from residents, one claiming it would “make a mockery of all the conservation restrictions that residents are expected to uphold”.

Several also raised worries over health impacts of 5G masts, although the application claimed that the mast’s design had passed the necessary regulatory hurdles in this respect.

Planning officer Simon Rowles concluded that the mast “would appear out of scale with its environs, sitting well above the roofs of surrounding buildings and street furniture”, and the visual harm “would not be outweighed by the social and economic benefits of enhanced 5G coverage”.

He said he was “not persuaded as to all the reasons given for discounting potential sites, or that a sufficiently robust approach has been taken to the identification of other alternatives”.

The refusal is the latest of several, which are likely to stymie roll-out of 5G in the city. Applications for masts at other sites continue to be submitted.

What are your thoughts?

You can send a letter to the editor to have your say by clicking here.

Letters should not exceed 250 words and local issues take precedence.