A North London tennis club is “delighted” after winning the battle against plans to put a 20-metre 5G mast next to its courts. Management feared the “eyesore” could lead to members leaving and eventually the closure of the club.
Cornerstone, which provides infrastructure for telecoms companies, submitted an application to install the mast and base station on Sylvester Road in Brent, next to Wembley and Sudbury Tennis and Squash Club. The plans would have seen the removal of one the 120-year-old club’s floodlights, leaving members concerned this would reduce tennis play in the autumn and winter months.
General Secretary, Julian Bloomfield, said the club is “delighted” that Brent Council refused the plans and “very grateful” for the support it received from members. Mr Bloomfield told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): “We are delighted with the outcome, it would have been awful for the club. We would have suffered quite greatly and it would have made life very difficult for us.”
He added: “It would have been right at the entrance to the club, membership would have been affected as current members would want to leave and it would be difficult to get new ones. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting their kids to play under a telephone mast.”
Cornerstone wanted to install the 20-metre pole, which would have a new light fitted to it, alongside associated antennas, dishes, and cabinets to “promote shared infrastructure” and “maximise opportunities to consolidate the number of base stations”.
However, the plan received more than a dozen objections, including from residents, members, and the club’s president, Craig Randall. They raised a number of issues including the mast’s potential impact on parking, house prices, and health.
Residents complained the plans would “seriously impair” their enjoyment of the courts, “detract future new members”, and “potentially result in the loss of our club”. Others raised concerns that the mast would “impede access” to the entrance for wheelchair players and spectators.
Mr Randall said: “Besides incurring a loss of car parking space, the mast will be an eyesore and make us and neighbours feel uncomfortable at having concentrated mobile phone waves in close proximity to where we live and enjoy tennis.”
He added: “A mast at such close proximity to tennis players, especially juniors, who would spend a number of hours playing tennis under the mast and its radio wave transmissions, could present them with unknown future health risks. It also might have a considerable negative effect on the value of nearby properties.”
A statement from Cornerstone states: “[Cornerstone] ensures that our radio base stations are designed and built so that the public are not exposed to radio frequency fields above the guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). In fact, radio base stations operate at low power and emit levels of radiofrequency fields many times lower than the ICNIRP general public guidelines.”
The Mobile Phones and Health Report, also known as The Stewart Report, concluded that the balance of evidence did not suggest that exposures to radio frequency fields below international guidelines could cause adverse health effects.
Regardless, it was to the club’s relief the plan was refused by Brent Council’s planning department. It concluded that the “excessive height” of the mast would have been “overly dominant” and “detrimental to the visual amenities, character and appearance” of the area.