Government says 'essential' 5G mast should be put up on Dewsbury Road in Lupset
The government has insisted on a 5G mast being built on a busy road in Wakefield, just months after the local council rejected such plans.
Campaigners thought they'd successfully seen off a proposal to build a 20 metre (65 foot) mast on Dewsbury Road in Lupset.
Planning officers at Wakefield Council said the structure would be an eyesore "at odds" with the surrounding area when they turned the plans down in June.
But government officials, who looked at the case after the developers appealed, have disagreed with that assessment and overturned the decision.
In their findings, the Planning Inspectorate described the mast as "essential" and said the need for "an electronic communications system should not be questioned".
The mast will be 15 metres - five shorter than originally proposed - and be placed near the small Sainsbury's store in the area.
But Wakefield West councillor Michael Graham, one of 86 people to object to the original application, said he was deeply unhappy with the result.
He said: "It makes you think, what is the point of the planning process here if the decision is just going to get overturned?
"Clearly they (the government) think local people don’t have a clue about their own communities.
"I know the people living directly facing where it's going to be aren't happy about it and I just don't think it's the right place.
"With all the street furniture that comes with it it's going to be so prominent."
In their report, the Planning Inspectorate said the mast will "not unacceptably harm the character and appearance" of the area.
They cited street furniture such as speed cameras, street lights and bus stops already on Dewsbury Road as evidence it will not be overly intrusive.
Dismissing concerns that people's house prices may be affected by the move, the report said: "The planning system does not exist to protect private interests such as value of land or property."
Councillor Graham said he disagreed with the findings and added: "I know some people are happy with the extra signal it will bring, but for me, on balance I don’t think the inconvenience of having this there is worth it.
"I think they could have found somewhere else for it."
A number of objectors had cited health concerns in relation to 5G, many of which have no scientific basis in fact and have been peddled by Covid conspiracy theorists.
The council said these played no part in its decision to reject the proposal, as it was not in its remit to decide on "health safeguards".
Local Democracy Reporting Service