PLANS to build a 65-foot high 5G mobile phone mast opposite a Grade-II listed performance arts venue in Newport have been refused.

Mobile service provider Three wants to build the structure on Commercial Road, at the junction with Alexandra Road in Pill, as part of plans to improve 5G coverage across the city.

But council planning officers raised concerns the 20-metre high mast would impact the setting of the Grade-II listed former public toilets opposite, which have been transformed into a performance arts space, The Phyllis Maud.


Janet Martin, who transformed the building and has a long-established background in the city’s arts sector, also opposed the plans.

“In this current climate people are forgetting they have freedom of speech and freedom of mind,” Ms Martin said.

“This is the new way and I do not like it, and no, I do not want a 5G mast opposite my community performance arts space, The Phyllis Maud.

“Community to my mind is the thing that we should be building.”

In its reasons for refusing prior approval, Newport council said the mast “by reason of its siting and appearance, would comprise a high, prominent and incongruous feature within an open street scene failing to preserve the setting of the Grade-II-listed building opposite”.

The council’s historic building conservation officer said “no proper analysis of the setting of heritage assets” was provided in the application.

He said it is unclear “why alternative locations are not more appropriate”.

“The proposals are likely to have an adverse impact on the setting of the listed building,” he added.

In its application, Three says that “due to the constrained nature of the cell search area, a location on the periphery of the heritage asset” was identified.

“Any perception of harm would be outweighed by the considerable, tangible benefits the scheme would deliver to residents, businesses and visitors alike,” it adds.

A faster service with the ability to handle more data is promised.

Newport council also refused the plans over concerns the mast and its cabinets would “restrict the width of the pavement, cause obstruction to visibility at a junction with insufficient evidence provided to justify the extent of visibility that would remain”.

“This would be to the detriment of both pedestrian and highway safety,” the council said.