CONTROVERSIAL plans to install a 5G mast at a junction in Hightown have been thrown out by the Welsh Government.

Planning inspectorate Richard James has backed Wrexham Council’s decision to refuse permission for the 17m high structure on the corner of Percy Road and Stockwell Grove.

The application, made by network operator Three, part of CK Hutchison, had sparked a range of concerns for residents and local councillors.

But the proposal was refused in February this year by Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer David Fitzsimon on the grounds that it would cause a detrimental visual impact.

An appeal was then lodged by Three, with the company feeling the council had not considered the efforts made to strike a balance between design and the benefits of enhancing 5G coverage in the area.

The company refuted that the development would have a negative impact on the street scene.

However, the Welsh Government’s planning inspector has dismissed this appeal, agreeing with the council’s reasons for originally refusing the proposals.

The Leader: The junction of Percy Road and Stockwell Grove in Hightown.The junction of Percy Road and Stockwell Grove in Hightown. (Image: Google)

In his report, Mr James says: “Whilst not within any heritage or landscape designation, the appeal site’s immediate context has a spacious building layout with an open frontage and a pleasing verdant appearance.

“The proposed cabinets would be minimal in size and would not introduce significant clutter to the street. As such, they would not be viewed as significant or harmful additions to the street frontage.

“However, whilst of minimal operational height, the street pole would be located in a visually prominent location within this frontage.

“Local residents, drivers and other highway users would have clear and prolonged views of it, particularly while passing or stopping at the junction.”

Mr James adds: “Visibility from longer range views would be increased during winter months, when trees would lose their screening foliage.

“The street pole would be noticeably thicker in diameter and substantially taller than other man-made features along this frontage. Consequently, it would hold little visual association with them, despite its grey colour and would have a discordant, domineering appearance within the frontage.

“Its substantial size and prominence would also erode the sense of openness along the frontage and detract from the positive contribution of the closest trees either side and opposite, as visually pleasing, natural vertical features.

“I conclude that the proposal would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area.”

After the appeal was dismissed a Three UK spokesperson said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Wrexham. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and our planners determined that this site was required to deliver it.

“While we try to keep mast sites as unobtrusive as possible, they 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. We will consider the reasons for refusal carefully and consider our options.”