Residents outraged by plans to extend the height of telephone mast in residential area

Worcester Park residents are protesting in the hope they can stop the phone mast erected outside Auriol Park in Salisbury Road from being extended up to 17.5 metres.

There was enormous opposition when the mast was first installed in 2016 and hundreds of people from the area attended demonstrations, signed petitions, and wrote letters of objection.

Now over two years later, a new proposal has been put forward by Waldon Telecom Limited to increase the height of this mast a further five metres.

This time, very few letters appear to have been sent out to residents notifying them of these plans and people are furious that they have not been kept informed.

Joy Watson, one of the few residents who say they received the letter, said: “We fought hard against this mast in 2016. It was not put in the correct location and Epsom Council should never have allowed this to happen in the first place.”

The current mast is shielded in appearance by the trees, but Waldon have admitted that it is not high enough and needs to be increased to serve the community.

Mark Rouson, Corporate Communications Officer at Epsom and Ewell Borough Council stated that as use of mobile technology increases, the need for phone masts and the associated telecomms equipment also increases.

He commented: “The owners of the mast do not need to apply for any planning permissions from us, as the local planning authority, to replace the 12.5m mast with a 17.5m high mast, as masts up to a height of 20m fall within national permitted development rights.”

Judy Peake, a resident of Worcester Court, was devastated when she learned the mast was being extended in height. She bought the flat particularly for the views across the treetops.

At the time, Vodafone stated the equipment was being placed so that it did not directly face main habitable windows, but this has not proved to be the case.

Now with this new proposal in the pipeline, she said: “I was informed last week that the mast that was so strongly objected to, is to be replaced with another one 5 metres higher. This would stand proud above the treetops and be an absolute eyesore for all those living in this residential area.”

Peter Maynard, a spokesman for Waldon Telcom Limited claimed in his letter that the proposed increase in height would “improve coverage with minimal changes to the existing equipment, minimising the visual impact on the surrounding area”.

This statement was met with outrage from residents as it means that many more people in the area would now be able to see the mast from their properties, if this proposal goes ahead.

Resident Pam Keane said: “Redevelopment of the existing mast to a height of 17.5 metres would significantly change the current street scene context and therefore render the telecommunications mast’s impact on visual amenity and the amenity of residents unacceptable.”