Local residents are campaigning to stop an 18 metre 5G tower being built adjacent to Selwyn Green over concerns that this ‘monstrosity’ will ruin the character of Bow’s Medway Conservation Area, and the consultation period ends on Wednesday 16th September.
Consisting of residents of Selwyn Road and those from nearby neighbouring areas, the group is campaigning for those who agree with their cause to write to Tower Hamlets Council with their objections.
Ian Marks, one of the organisers of the group who has lived on Selwyn Road for 38 years, says one of their main objections to the tower is its location in a protected conservation area.
‘ [The tower] will not be a pleasant sight,’ he says. ‘It will be a monstrosity that will go against the regulations of the conservation area.’
The whole of Selwyn Road, including the green, falls into a ‘conservation area’ that is recognised by Tower Hamlets council as an area of ‘architectural and historic character and significance’.
The green also includes Saxon Hall, which is a 19th century locally listed building. The mast will be situated directly opposed the Hall and will be over twice as high.
Conservation areas typically have strict guidelines to preserve the area by which any proposed changes will have to abide. Documents by Three, the network provider building the tower, show the site has been given a ‘red’ rating primarily due to the fact that it is located in a conservation area.
Marks also states his concerns about any potential health risks to nearby residents due to prolonged exposure to 5G radio waves. Selwyn Green is a popular recreational ground attracting children after school and at the weekend.
‘Although any ill effects on 5G are yet to be proven, we believe planners should be cautious until it has been decided one way or another.’
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) stance on 5G is that ‘no adverse health effects’ have been causally linked with exposure to wireless technologies but admits that ‘only a few’ studies have been carried out at 5G frequencies’.
Currently, the UK government’s regulations are that mobile phone base stations, including 5G towers must follow recommended radio frequency levels by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
The Council were unavailable to comment on the campaign. However it is understood the erection of 5G masts is part of the Council’s All Digital Inclusion initiative that aims to provide free public Wifi network across the borough to improve local connectivity capacity and coverage, in particular for town centres and residents who are digitally excluded.
While the group feels the health risks by 5G need to addressed, Marks reiterates that it is the location of the mast in a conservation area that is the primary concern of the campaigners.
Three said: “Access to 5G has a vital role to play in boosting local economies, helping residents and businesses get faster and more reliable network coverage. This is why we’re working with the local council in Tower Hamlets to roll out the UK’s fastest 5G network so that we can keep everyone connected both now and in the future.
“While we try to keep mast sites as unobtrusive as possible, we appreciate the sensitivity of the location and we would be willing to work with the Local Planning Authority to see if we can find a more suitable location. Masts however 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”.
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