Phone and internet coverage set to improve in Newham

Phone and internet coverage is set to improve in Newham, after Macedon Ranges council approved two new telecommunications facilities.

But the council rejected plans for a New Gisborne facility because of concerns about its visual impact.

A 40-metre high monopole, designed to provide access to both Optus mobile telephone coverage and the NBN network, has been approved for both 56 Bryces Lane and 1224 Rochford Road, Newham.

One objection to the Bryces Lane tower, which will be 2.8 kilometres to the east of Hanging Rock, was heard by the council at its meeting last week.

A representative of a nearby resident said the tower was “extremely close to Hanging Rock” and would be in the viewline of Hanging Rock visitors.

However, the council was assured the tower would not penetrate the skyline and would be a colour that would blend in with the environment.

An NBN representative said alternative locations that had been explored would require a facility 20 metres higher than what was proposed. He said the company had met with Newham residents in recent years who were calling for better internet coverage.

Councillor Natasha Gayfer, who lives near Hanging Rock, motioned for the “tricky” decision to go ahead in the interests of better connection.

She said she had spoken to residents, who did not object to the tower. She said the improved coverage would benefit the many residents in the area who worked from home and would be better for emergencies.

A third monopole planned for 372 Barringo Road, New Gisborne was knocked back against the recommendation of council officers.

The tower would have been next to Highfield Estate, which includes a residence, function space and accommodation.

A representative of five objectors told the council the tower would significantly impact views from the estate, which is marketed as a tourism destination because of its rural feel.

The representative said the presence of a tower would affect the landscape for weddings, bridal party photos and wakes which were held at the property.

Councillor Andrew Twaits pushed to refuse the permit, saying the tower would have a “direct unreasonable impact on other properties”.

The tower was intended to provide access to the NBN network and Optus mobile telephone coverage for residents in New Gisborne, Macedon and a residential area between New Gisborne and Riddells Creek.