Will developers find another site to bring 5G to Godalming?


Remember all you olds out there, what McCarthy & Stone promise you when you buy one of its properties isn’t necessarily what you get!

“These retirement living developments are carefully designed to provide the very best of independent living within a safe and secure environment. With an opportunity to benefit from companionship and also privacy, as required.”

Do you get it – ‘safe, secure – private?’

So when Arthur Hayes moved into Ceasers Place, Ockford Ridge he didn’t reckon on looking out of his window of his new home  at a 5.5m high alpha telecommunications pole 4x600m dishes and four equipment cabinets at rooftop level, with associated development. A base would put the white pole at 7.2m!  So – not quite what it said on McCarthy’s tin?

Thankfully two Godalming councillors -Paul Follows and Anne-Marie Rosoman called the application in for determination by the local committee. Due to their concerns, they also asked for a site visit so everyone could see for themselves the impact on residents from inside their flats. This occurred thanks to the residents who accommodated the (socially distant) site visit.


Cllr George Wilson who quoted McCarthy’s message to his colleagues said he believed it was “reprehensible” that the developer was putting the needs of its residents who had paid £500,000 for a two-bedroom home, second to the needs of the telecommunications industry and ‘money.’

Almost everyone on the committee agreed the need for improved 5G communications was vital in Godalming but wanted proof  this woud be part of a wider network of masts.

Cllr Liz Townsend argued that the system needed to be part of a much broader application for a 5G network in the area. There is no getting away from it, this mast is intrusive and if we are to allow this, and weigh the balance of benefit against the harm it must be a part of  much wider connectivity for 5G or it does not overcome the harm.  Or, is this mast so high because there are so few other masts around?

Planning Officer Beth Howland Smith said she was unaware of any other planning applications relating to 5G.

Cllr Steve Cosser was concerned about Cllr Townsend’s remarks claiming the commitee risked going down a path  that was “not appropriate.” We are judging the general beenfit here, not second-guessing what might be and, apart from the people living on this development, there’s not going to be much impact. “The officers have got it right.”

However, Cllr John Gray said the impact on residents was very clear. A mast on a building with no independent access has to be available 24/7. A building that is not manned all the time and locked up overnight would require the willingness of residents should maintenance be required. So the impact on residents was more than just visual! 

How sick we are here at the Waverley Web of hearing planning officers’ continually trotting out that applications they support will do – “less than substantial harm.” What exactly is that supposed to mean?

The Application was REFUSED – Six were in favour – nine AGAINST.


2 thoughts on “Will developers find another site to bring 5G to Godalming?”

  1. I have to say having watched this meeting, I thought the lack of knowledge of the Planning Officer was somewhat embarrassing.

    Perhaps the WBC Planning team need to read the Government White paper on Planning for the Future released this month… It states several times that there should be NET GAIN – NOT NO NET HARM…. and again this phrase comes up over and over again.. BUILDING BETTER …BUILDING BEAUTIFUL…….

  2. Agreed. The Planning Officer was out of her depth again. Basic mistakes. How big was the mast? 7m or 5m. ‘Oh I think that the difference is the height above the parapet”! North East or North West? She had no idea. Embarrassing. Thank goodness Councillors were there to do the checking where the Officer had failed to.

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