Villagers in Great Bardfield say they are "horrified" by plans for Three UK to install a 15m high 5G mast in the village's conservation area.

The mast would be erected on one of the village greens, and residents are concerned that this will negatively impact the view from the parish church.

Parish council chair Carolynne Ruffle said: "The parish council is appalled by the prospect that this mast may be erected in the conservation area of our historic village and next to our primary and preschool with no consultation with our community.

"The village is up in arms. At a recent public meeting all the concerns were aired and advice given on how to provide feedback on this proposal.

"The parish council will be objecting in the strongest possible terms regarding planning issues and the health concerns of our residents.

"We are proud of the community for all the research and expertise that has been shared. We will fight this for our village and all other rural communities that are likely to face this issue in the future."

Some villagers are also concerned about the proximity to the primary school, preschool and residential properties.

Jane Tillotson, chair of governors at Great Bardfield Primary School, added: "I’m very unhappy that this application has been made without any consultation with our school, which is right next to the proposed mast.

"It is very clear that the government requires network providers to consult with schools and their views should be taken in to account.

"This has not happened and obviously I have huge concerns about such untested technology being placed in such close proximity to the youngest and potentially most vulnerable members of our community."

A statement from Braintree District Council said: "Telecommunications infrastructure is considered permitted development by national legislation if it meets a series of criteria set out within The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.


"This application is therefore to consider if the application meets those criteria and therefore does not need planning permission from Braintree or whether it does not meet the criteria and therefore a planning permission would need to be sought.

"A decision is expected to be made shortly."

A Three UK spokesperson said: "5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Great Bardfield. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.

"Masts 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. We carry out extensive searches and evaluate a wide range of options before submitting any planning applications.

"We are aware that there have been some concerns raised. However, from a health and safety perspective, 5G deployment is no different to any other mobile technology.

"As a responsible company, we take our obligation to run a safe network very seriously and actively work to ensure that our network remains compliant with international guidelines."