Telstra faces a battle with New Lambton residents who have slammed its proposal for a mobile phone tower in the suburb's town centre.
The telco's development application for a 32-metre monopole outside its existing Regent Street exchange has attracted a flurry of submissions over the past week as word spread of the plans.
The tower is proposed to replace an existing base station facility at the site and would support infrastructure for the company's 3G, 4G and 5G networks.
"There is a requirement to provide improved mobile phone coverage and capacity in the New Lambton locality," a statement of environmental effects lodged with the DA states.
"The proposed facility will help improve customer voice and data services within the area."
Greg Booth, who lives behind the exchange, said residents welcomed improved network coverage but were concerned about the appropriateness of the site.
"There's genuine community concern about this tower," he said.
"We're not saying we don't want 5G, we're not saying we don't want better phone reception, we're just saying have they considered other sites? Up in the bush near Blackbutt Reserve, or there's one down in Lambton Park which you don't really notice because it's surrounded by light towers.
"This is going to stick out like a sore thumb and ruin the village's main-street appeal."
Fellow resident Tanya Montgomery said she was concerned about the process, as less than a dozen residents were formally made aware of the plans.
"We took it upon ourselves to door-knock around the community to let people know," she said. "Not even the school or education department were notified."
Mr Booth said the application was "quite cleverly put together" as the visual impact photos showed the 32-metre tower "no higher than a telegraph pole".
"When you actually come out onto the street and try to imagine a 32-metre tower next to two-storey buildings, it's going to be massive," he said.
"We all want good 5G, it's just the position of the tower at nearly 32 metres tall on the main street of what is a small community village, is not quite right.
"I guess it's the most cost effective solution for Telstra to put it there, but I just wonder whether they've really considered whether there's other potential options."
A Telstra spokesperson said the telco "did explore the local area for alternative sites ... but there were none that met the requirements".
"Moving further away would not allow us to adequately service the New Lambton area."
City of Newcastle is set to host a public voice session about the the plans.