Motherwell residents outraged as company try to strong-arm construction of 5G Tower at Fir Park despite planning rejections

Over 100 locals have voiced their objections to both planning permission applications - now the applicant is taking the appeal to the Scottish Government

An appeal has been submitted to the Scottish Government Reporter with the aim of overturning North Lanarkshire Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a towering 5G mast beside Fir Park Stadium in Motherwell.

Over 100 locals, including Councillors Alan Valentine and Nathan Wilson, objected to both of the planning applications for the 5G mast - one in October 2021, and another in October 2022. The telecommunications tower would stand 40m tall (5m shorter than in the original application) and the applicant claims the mast would be hugely beneficial to the local community and emergency services, giving them access to the 5G network.

Despite these promises from the applicant, locals have not been swayed - and continue to voice their disapproval of the plans now that the applicant has taken the planning application to the Scottish Government, after being knocked back from North Lanarkshire Council twice. Local Councillor, Nathan Wilson has backed the locals objecting the mast at Fir Park - formally objecting to both applications, and is now urging the Scottish Government Reporter to reject the 5G mast appeal.

The proposed location for the 5G infrastructure is to the west of the South Stand at the football stadium and the appeal was lodged by the applicant at the very end of 2022.

The proposed 5G mast would stand 40m tall The proposed 5G mast would stand 40m tall
The proposed 5G mast would stand 40m tall

Local Councillor, Nathan Wilson formally opposed the two applications and he is urging the Reporter to reject the appeal. Scottish Conservative Councillor for Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig, Nathan Wilson said: “I am incredibly frustrated that despite the rejection of the Fir Park 5G mast proposals on two separate occasions through the local democratic decision-making process in North Lanarkshire, the outcome of the application will now be determined centrally.

“Many local people who live closest to where the mast would be located have expressed their firm opposition to the introduction of the 40m telecommunications tower and it would be a democratic outrage if the council’s decision is not upheld through the appeal process.

“In my view, the plans fail to meet key criteria in the approved Local Development on the appropriateness of a development in a General Urban Area.

“It is surely the case that a towering 40m mast in a mainly residential area and in very close proximity to local homes including at Fir Park Street and Woodlands Road would be of a scale and nature that does not conform to the prevailing character of the locality.

“It is vital that the democratic decision reached by the council to withhold planning permission is respected and for the Reporter to kick out the appeal.”

Scottish Councillor Nathan Wilson has backed locals in vehemently opposing to the construction of the 5G Tower at Fir ParkScottish Councillor Nathan Wilson has backed locals in vehemently opposing to the construction of the 5G Tower at Fir Park
Scottish Councillor Nathan Wilson has backed locals in vehemently opposing to the construction of the 5G Tower at Fir Park

Each planning request to North Lanarkshire Council received over 50 objections, and fit the following criteria of concern:

  • The mast is out of character and context with the residential area causing a significant impact upon the outlook of residential properties.
  • The mast is of a significant height and visually prominent being taller than any other nearby structure.
  • The mast is not an essential use and has locational need to be in this location.
  • Noise and disruption caused from the mast and equipment
  • Lack of technical information supplied in relation to the electronic equipment
  • Potential radiation and health impacts to people and pets
  • Location of mast near to sensitive sites such as schools
  • Potential impact of mast to low level aircraft
  • Loss of privacy/overlooking works on mast.

The applicant claims that the new technology would allow for ‘enhanced coverage’ and ‘more efficient internet and streaming services.’ It would also upgrade the existing 4G Emergency Service Network (ESN) for improved coverage, according to the applicant.

Current telecommunications equipment exists tethered to existing masts around Fir Park Stadium, the home of Motherwell Football Club. The planning application would see it removed and grafted on to a new upgraded tower. The principle issue being for many locals objecting to the application is that the seperate tower will overshadow and be out of character with the rest of the area - the only other large structure in the immediate area is Fir Park itself which only stands 30m tall - 10m smaller than the proposed 5G tower.