A plan to build a 5G mast directly in front of playing fields in Caversham has been torpedoed for a second time.

CK Hutchison, the company that owns the Three mobile network, was hoping to install a 15 metre tall 5G mast in front of the Emmer Green playing fields, at the junction of Grove Road and Kidmore End Road.

However, its plan was thwarted after Reading Borough Council rejected it, and an attempt to get it approved on appeal has now been dismissed.

The mast would have been located opposite the Black Horse pub, where a group of neighbours who objected to the mast held a meeting to organise their opposition.

When the scheme was rejected by the council’s planning department in July, officer Beatrice Malama argued it would detract from the visual amenity and appearance of the surrounding area, and that Hutchison failed to provide evidence of whether the mast could be placed anywhere else.

These arguments were accepted in the appeal.

READ MORE: Mobile network launches appeal bid against 5G mast refusal in Caversham

The appeal was lodged last September, but it was dismissed by government planning inspector  M. P. Howell on Friday, December 23, 2022.

Inspector Howell wrote: “The proposed development would appear incongruous within the open street scene, impacting upon the character and appearance of the area.

“A condition to finish the proposed development in grey would not sufficiently

ameliorate the impact.”

Inspector Howell added the grey colouring would fail to soften the visual impact of the mast, particularly as trees at Emmer Green playing fields shed their leaves.

READ MORE: Caversham neighbours ready to fight after 5G mast appeal

Also, inspector Howell argued not enough investigation into alternative sites had taken place, as only four sites had been looked into.

As 5G masts are considered permitted development according to national planning law, there are only a few ways for such plans to be refused.

These are the siting, appearance and availability of alternative locations for a proposed mast, all reasons which were mentioned in the appeal dismissal.

Inspector Howell concluded that, while the benefits that 5G technology provides are ‘essential’, these benefits would not outweigh the ‘substantial harm’ to the character and appearance of the area if the mast were to be installed.

Reacting to the appeal decision, a spokesperson for Three mobile said: “After evaluating a wide range of options, our planners determined that a new site was required to deliver a great network experience to the residents and businesses of Caversham.

“We accept the Inspector’s decision.

“We will look at the area again and work with the Planning Authority to try and find a site so we can roll out the UK’s fastest 5G network to the local community.”

The refused application can be found by typing reference 220638 into the council’s planning portal.