Steyning residents object to 20-metre telecommunications mast

Bob Murphy helped organise a meeting on Saturday to discuss the telecommunication mast plans
Bob Murphy helped organise a meeting on Saturday to discuss the telecommunication mast plans

A number of Steyning residents have hit out at Vodafone’s plans to install a 20-metre telecommunications mast at Steyning Town Community Football Club.

The application proposes to replace an existing 16-metre floodlight with the 20-metre mast and telecommunication antennas to provide mobile electronic communication services, such as 4G, in the town.

The flyer sent out to residents ahead of the meeting

The flyer sent out to residents ahead of the meeting

On Saturday, residents gathered for a meeting organised by Steyning Residents Against Mast – set up by a group of concerned neighbours – at the Penfold Hall, in Church Street, Steyning.

One of the organisers of the meeting was Bob Murphy who objected to the application on grounds of the ‘appearance’ of the mast.

He said: “Currently 17 people have objected to the plans with the main reason being the appearance.

“Other people are in support of it because they say we need a telephone mast due to the rubbish mobile reception in Steyning.

“As far as we are aware, Horsham District Council is only able to consider the impact of its appearance or location when making a decision about a phone mast rather than any potential health risks from it.

“What the residents are trying to do is ask Vodafone to find a new site away from the football club. We know it is a cost-effective thing to put the mast at the club but there are other options just a little further down the road.”

Horsham District Council’s planning committee previously heard an application from Vodafone for a telecommunications mast at Steyning Football Club, in April 2017, but rejected it.

A spokesman for Vodafone said a subsequent appeal was also rejected by the planning authority before the new proposal was submitted.

The new proposal contains ‘shrouded antennas and a slimmer structure’, according to Vodafone.

The spokesman added: “Vodafone and Telefonica customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel.

“Base stations are low powered devices which cover approximately half a mile in radius, therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“Vodafone and Telefonica identified that they need to improve the coverage to their customers in Steyning and have proposed a base station at Steyning Football Club.

“In mid-2017 we applied for a mobile phone base station at Steyning Football Club, this proposal was rejected by the Local Planning Authority, as was the subsequent appeal.

“The present proposal is based on a design with shrouded antennas and a slimmer structure.

“We have now submitted a proposal based on this modified design and await the Local Planning Authorities decision.”

Janette Johns, who lives close to Steyning Town Community Football Club, was concerned by the application.

She said: “This mast is going to be such an eyesore.

“The football club is surrounded by houses and the mast will be easily visible from the South Downs.

“I am just annoyed I didn’t know anything about it until somebody posted a leaflet for Saturday’s meeting through my door.”

The planning proposal is currently in the consultation stage and residents have until Wednesday to submit their comments.

A Horsham District Council spokesman said: “This application (DC/18/0209) was initially part of negotiation to ascertain if planning permission was needed – the length of time for this period of negotiation was 14 days.

“It was then decided that this proposal needed to go through a full planning permission process. A site notice will now go up week commencing 12 February and this will mark the start of 21 days consultation.”