NEIGHBOURS are up in arms after finding out about a 40ft 5G phone mast planned near their houses just weeks before the application closing date.

Most of the residents around Heathy Brow in Peacehaven said they found out about the proposals in the last two weeks.

The expiry date for the public consultation is today, Wednesday, July 13, and people want that extended.

The planning application was put in by Hutchison 3G UK Ltd, which owns network provider Three, on May 25 and received by Lewes District Council a day later.

The Argus: Residents are not happy with the proposed 5G towerResidents are not happy with the proposed 5G tower

Aimee Harman, who found out about the planned mast at the end of June, said: “They aren’t telling people because when they do, look what happens. We’re objecting because they haven’t given any information, they won’t meet us.

“We would like to know, if this mast is safe why don’t they tell us? Why don’t they come and say ‘we just wanted to let you know, there is no concern with health or danger’.

“But they’re not speaking to us.”

One couple who live directly next to the proposed mast said they are “terrified” of having it there. They received a letter about the mast on June 6.

The Argus: Another tower in the area Another tower in the area

The woman said: “There are pregnant mums in the area, I have a pacemaker for my heart. I am terrified, I can’t sleep because of this. I want to be reassured that they’re safe.”

The 5G masts fit within the same electromagnetic spectrum as radios, mobile phones and microwaves.

The radio wave band, used for mobile phone networks, is non-ionising, “which means it lacks sufficient energy to break apart DNA and cause cellular damage”, David Robert Grimes, a physicist and cancer researcher, told The BBC.

All radio frequency radiation is described by the World Health Organisation as “possibly carcinogenic”. Wood dust and alcoholic drinks are also on this list.

The Argus: People are concerned about cars hitting the mast if it is built. Pictured is a car crash from October 4 last year in the exact area where the mast will bePeople are concerned about cars hitting the mast if it is built. Pictured is a car crash from October 4 last year in the exact area where the mast will be

The residents also have concerns over cars hitting the mast and causing it to fall.

The road has had several crashes over the years despite being a 30mph zone.

Juliette Kent, who lives on the stretch of road where the mast would go, said: “It’s an accident black spot. It’s not a case of if the mast will get hit, it’s when it will get hit.”

Currently, masts up to 25 metres high are permitted subject to prior approval, which can help with fast planning decisions compared with a conventional planning application. 

On March 7 this year, a government consultation revealed it is "considering permitting the installation of monopoles up to 15 metres in height without the need for prior approval" essentially for sites that are not national parks or protected areas.

However, the government have not taken forward this part of the proposal.

The Argus: Residents do not want the mast in Heathy Brow Residents do not want the mast in Heathy Brow

The proposed mast will be between 12.75 and nearly 14.5 metres, which is why it did not need full planning permission.

The local planning authority has eight weeks, 56 days, to carry out its response and inform the network operator. It can consider a variety of factors such as if the mast is nearby residential properties or schools.

The nearest school is Meridian Community Primary School in Roderick Avenue, 400 metres away.

Today is seven weeks since Hutchison 3G UK Ltd submitted its application to Lewes District Council.

The Argus: A poster put out by the groupA poster put out by the group

A council spokesman said: “We have received a number of concerns about the mast, including from Peacehaven Town Council. All of these will be considered in due course."

Pre-application letters were sent via email to Conservative district councillors for Peacehaven North Phil Davis and Keira Rigden as well as town councillor Emilia Simmons on May 12.

The headteacher and governing body at Meridian Community Primary School were also sent letters.

The Argus: The site will be approximately where the red circle isThe site will be approximately where the red circle is

Phil Davis, councillor for Peacehaven North, said: “I had seen the application for a mast in Heathy Brow and the PPC [production planning and production control] objections but no residents' objections at that time.

“However Aimee Harman contacted me on July 4 to make me aware that nearby residents were upset with the proposal.

“I then posted an objection on the planning portal, on behalf of the residents, suggesting that the planning committee consider postponing the decision with a view to engaging with the applicant to explore a more acceptable location for the mast.

“I have tried to engage with the applicant but to date no response.”

A Three spokeswoman said: “We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.

"While we try to keep mast sites as unobtrusive as possible, they need to be situated where people will be using the service and, in many cases, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.

The Argus: Picture by Stratford490Picture by Stratford490

“From a health and safety perspective, 5G deployment is no different to any other mobile technology. We take our obligation to run a safe network very seriously and actively work to ensure that our network remains compliant with international guidelines.

"The 5G rollout by all UK mobile network operators complies with all global standards on health and safety which have been developed since the early 1990s – you can see recent independent testing from Ofcom and find more information via #5gcheckthefacts on social media.”

The Ofcom independent testing link can be accessed here (PDF):