THE LEADER of Southampton City Council has said she is 'disappointed' planning decisions can be ignored by telecoms firms putting up 5G masts.

Councillor Satvir Kaur said she finds it ‘worrying’ that 5G masts are being put up more easily after Government made changes to speed up the rollout of faster internet.

Firms do not need planning permission to install masts of up to 25 metres. They are installed under what is known as permitted development rights.

It comes after several residents in the Southampton area opposed masts being installed - with one woman parking her car over the spot one was due to be constructed.

Cllr Kaur said: “It’s worrying that national Government changes now mean 5G masts can be erected under permitted development rights. 

“While it’s important to have improved digital infrastructure across the city, this must in my opinion be done in consultation with local communities who know their area best.

“It’s disappointing that local planning decisions can and will now be ignored.”

READ MORE: 'Eyesore and monstrosity': Man's fury at plans for 5G mast

Many residents object to the visual impact of the masts.

On June 12, a 36-year-old Southampton man told the Echo of his fury at proposals for a pole saying it would devalue the house he had spent years decorating in Wodehouse Road.

On September 1, the Echo spoke to Lorraine Rooker, 66, who had a new mast put up less than 30 metres from her home, in Jupiter Close, without any warning.

On September 7, an angry mum drove over a pavement to stop workers from digging holes for a 5G mast, after initial plans for the pole in Raymond Road had been rejected.

READ MORE: Angry mum dumps car on pavement in protest to 5G mast on Raymond Road

A statement from the Department of Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: “All new 5G masts require a consultation before they can be approved and operators must minimise the impact on the environment.”

The department said legal duties are being placed on operators to minimise the visual impact of new network equipment, particularly in protected areas such as conservation areas.

A legal duty is also being introduced to ensure that operators maintain the accessibility of pavements.

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