Plans for 5G mast 'will damage iconic castle view'

time:2023-06-02 13:43:51 source:CNN (Cable News Network)

Plans for a 5G mast in the middle of the most photographed view of Edinburgh Castle have been described as "damaging" by a conservation charity.

An application has been lodged to erect the 17m (56ft) structure on Johnston Terrace, which passes below the castle.

Mobile network Three UK says the mast is "vital" and will not spoil the view.

But the plans have sparked more than 160 objections, with The Cockburn Association among those calling for an alternative solution to be found.

Terry Levinthal is director of the association, Scotland's oldest conservation charity.

He told BBC Scotland it was "unacceptable" to erect a mast in such a significant location.

"The castle is one of Edinburgh and Scotland's most historic and iconic heritage sites and tourist destinations," he said.

"It [a mast] will inevitably have a significant and negative impact on views to and from Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town.

"A mast would visually damage it and therefore damage the context of Edinburgh. An alternative solution is needed as this is unacceptable."

He acknowledged that effective telecommunications were needed in the city - but said the mast should be located in a "more inconspicuous" spot.

It is proposed to site the mast in Johnston Terrace, which runs just below the castle rock at the top of Granny's Green Steps.

Many city tours stop in the Grassmarket area so that visitors can capture the view looking up at the castle.

Chris Sandeman, who runs a free walking tour, said he was "saddened and disgusted" by the plans.

He said: "I can see the argument for it, as there should be the option to have reception in the city centre - but this mast would destroy an iconic view.

"It is very short-sighted to obstruct a view which makes money for Edinburgh.

"We take all our tours there to photograph Edinburgh Castle and they then post it on social media, which helps to promote the capital."

Iain Ponton, who owns the Oz Bar in Candlemaker Row, said the mast would "stick out like a sore thumb beside such an historic site".

A spokeswoman for Historic Environment Scotland, which manages Edinburgh Castle, said it had not been consulted about the plans.

The application will now be considered by City of Edinburgh Council.

The mast is being proposed by CK Hutchison Networks to help provide coverage for Three UK's network.

A Three UK spokesman said: "The high footfall at this popular tourist destination means that the extra capacity provided by our 5G rollout is vital for residents, visitors and businesses of Johnston Terrace.

"We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.

"Masts need to be situated where people will be using the service and, in many cases, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.

"We carry out extensive searches and evaluate a wide range of options before submitting any planning applications and we are sure that both visitors and locals will still be able to enjoy clear views of Edinburgh Castle."

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