High Hurstwood villagers cheered last night when a parish council planning committee promised to support them in their fight against proposals for a mobile phone mast in the village.
About 40 people gathered at a meeting of Buxted Parish Council’s planning committee to spell out their opposition to a mast being built at Nordens Green Farm, Royal Oak Lane, High Hurstwood.
Phil Gilbert-Smith, from the High Hurstwood Against Radio and Mobile Mast Group, and who lives directly opposite the proposed mast site, within 100 metres of it, spoke on behalf of villagers.
He said 70 people had written letters of objection and more than 100 people had signed a petition, still being circulated, because the mast would have a significant impact on the safety, well-being of residents, and attractive living environment in the village.
He said a few villagers received a letter about the proposal on Saturday, July 1, but no statutory notice had been placed anywhere, there had been no neighbourhood engagement and he would like to know why residents weren’t informed earlier.
He pointed out the site selected was in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the mast would have a detrimental visual impact on it.
He said recent academic studies showed the health and wellbeing of residents living close to mobile masts could be negatively impacted and he added there would be disturbance from construction and maintenance traffic, loss of privacy to residents overlooked by the mast, and a threat to endangered species of wildlife, including great crested newts, in the area.
He also said the mobile phone mast was unnecessary because most people had good wifi in their homes.
Buxted planning committee chairman Vivienne Blandford said that on the basis of the overwhelming objections the committee would strongly ask Wealden Council to reconsider the siting of the mast.
She told residents this wasn’t a typical planning application, phone mast applications were classed as permitted development and the parish council wasn’t asked for its views in the usual way.
She added that Wealden could only consider whether the mast met criteria laid down for location and appearance.
She urged High Hurstwood villagers to “bombard Wealden because this is completely out of our hands”.
The villagers clapped and cheered her comments.