CONTROVERSIAL plans for a 5G mast on North Star Avenue, close to schools, nurseries and homes, have come under fire.

Jim Grant and Peter Watts, who both represent Rodbourne Cheney on the borough council say people living in the Ferndale Road and Osbourne Street area are worried about its proximity.

“Following extensive consultation with local residents we have written to WHP Telecoms objecting to the construction.

“ The overwhelming response from residents was they were against the proposal,” said Coun Grant.

“We are of the opinion that the proposed site is too close to the houses in Ferndale Road and Osbourne Street.

“More concerning is that there are three educational establishments within a 200m radius of the location, Ferndale Primary, Fernbrook and Poppies Nursery.”

He said: “The mast may have health and safety implications for these children and local residents generally.”

Recent conspiracy theories have linked 5G masts to the coronavirus pandemic but these have been comprehensively debunked.

Despite this, a number of arson attacks have been carried out on masts across the UK and telecoms engineers themselves have been targeted. Concerns about electromagnetic radiation have been around for longer, but so far there is no conclusive evidence linking it to cancer in humans.

Coun Grant said: “Recent planning applications involving masts in Totnes, Frome and Glastonbury have all been turned down on health and safety grounds, so residents are right to have concerns.

“We are not objecting, in principle, to the building of a mast but feel a more suitable location could be found in this area.

“We have asked WHP Telecoms what other sites have been considered and why this particular site has been selected.”

“In our opinion, a more acceptable siting would be on the southern side of Great Western Way,” he explained: “Perhaps within the Oasis Leisure Complex or the adjacent industrial estate.”

“We shall be contacting residents again when we get a response from the company and seek their views on on how we should go forward.”

WHP Telecoms was approached for comment but had not responded as the Adver went to press.