A new 20-metre 5G tower could be built near Christchurch Meadows in Caversham.

The proposed tower, at 80 George Street, would replace a mast that has been removed from Great Brighams Mead as part of plans to turn the old Three offices into 110 new flats.

The tower would be run by EE and Three, who have a network-sharing agreement to help meet customer needs across the UK.

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On behalf of EE and Three, planning consultant Katy Jessop said: “The proposed replacement mast has been sited and designed in order to replace existing coverage which has been lost and provide 5G coverage in order to support the existing mobile network.

“At present it is paramount that digital connectivity is supported and maintained throughout the country.

“In particular, the current massive shift in user demand from city centres and places of work to residential areas and suburbs requires an improvement in coverage and capacity throughout the whole network.

“The current proposal therefore provides such additional capacity to the network whilst still promoting the improved 5G technology.

“The location enables the whole of the surrounding area to benefit from improved 5G network coverage and has been designed to be future proof, thus enabling other technologies to be deployed depending upon the demand required.

“As the shift in demand is expected for the foreseeable future and as central government considers digital communications to be a critical national infrastructure, we intend to support customers and local residents by ensuring as little disruption as possible.

“In addition, EE will become the emergency services network provider and in order to dedicate the 4G network for that use, the intention is to support all users during the current climate and to maintain all current services.”

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EE has asked the council to try to view the application as a ‘priority submission’ and approve it within 56 days “due to its critical national importance at this time”.

The 20-metre high slim lattice tower will have six antennas and four dishes, with eight equipment cabinets at ground level within a fenced compound.