Residents of a Dunfermline street have been left furious after a large telephone mast was erected in front of their homes.
Locals in St Andrew Street and Malcolm Street are unhappy at the huge structure, which has been installed to enable the rollout of 5G mobile networks.
Many say they were not told of its pending installation, including nearby businesses.
Local residents have formed a group, Brucefield Residents Association, to spearhead their campaign of having the 18-metre high structure moved to a more suitable location.
Three, the network using the mast, say it was put there to allow wider 5G coverage while Fife Council say it does not need planning permission.
‘Ghastly’ mast upsetting locals
Resident Alex Halliday lives 26 metres away from the mast and his neighbour Gwen McIlroy lives 30 metres away, despite both of their homes overlooking it neither knew of the new arrival and say they were not given the chance to comment.
Gwen said: “Everyone is horrified. It’s so ghastly.
“Some people are worried about health issues and issues from the radio waves it will give off.”
Manager of Turkuaz Turkish Bath and Spa Jen Boyaci returned to work after a week off to unexpectedly find the mast in front of her business.
Her husband Mehmet, who manages the neighbouring barbers and takeaway, wants to see it removed.
‘It’s so ghastly’
Mehmet attempted to arrange a petition to stop the mast from being installed, but work had already started when he got round to asking for signatures.
Jen also said that during its installation, workmen were rude to her and blocked access to her and her husband’s businesses which affected their customers and deliveries.
Residents accept that such masts will need to be put up and while they do not object to it being there, they wish that it was in a more suitable location.
In total, nine households were told about the new mast, who all objected.
They cited an unsuitable location, lack of publicising, health concerns and concerns on the future value of houses.
Gwen added: “The Scottish Government brought in legislation that allowed for 5G masts to be placed in areas under permitted development but it means you don’t need to have planning permission or have very minimal planning.
“Our issue is that it was rubber stamped under the ‘permitted development’ legislation which we feel is too prescriptive for urban settings and should be more flexible and considerate.
“All of the people who received letters objected strongly to it, but nothing was done about it.
“I thought they were not permitted to put them on busy pavements, on bus routes and school routes and that location is all three.”
Alex added: “It’s a disgrace. We had little to no consultation.
“There are less intrusive places they can put it.”
Neighbour Diane Rendall said she felt her objections had been ignored and had noticed children climbing up and down it.
What is the planning process for 5G masts?
Installed a few weeks ago, most residents say they were not notified. Only those within 20 metres of it were told of the pending installation.
The application process for such masts came in two years ago and is not like a usual planning application. It falls under permitted development but is assessed in a similar way and neighbours can still put in objections.
The prior approval procedure means that the principle of development is not an issue. The council can only consider the siting and appearance of the proposal.
What have Three said?
A Three spokesperson said: “5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Dunfermline. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site is critical to making that happen.
“Masts needs to be situated where people will be using the service and, in precise locations to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.
“We carry out extensive searches and surveys to evaluate all the options. We then choose the option most likely to gain planning approval from the local council.
“This will include showing we have minimised the impact on residents and the locality.”