Villagers set up campaign to oppose phone mast plans within North York Moors National Park

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Furious residents in a North Yorkshire community have set up a campaign to stop a new phone mast being sited within the North York Moors National Park.

Consultation letters were sent to villagers in Staithes over a proposed 12.5m mobile phone mast which would be built in the grounds of the athletics club. Now determined residents, saying the siting is inappropriate, have held public meetings and set up petitions to stop the application before it is submitted to planners.

“It’s inappropriate for our area, especially being in the middle of the village,” said Marion Wright, chairman of the committee which has been set up to oppose the plans. “It’s not in-keeping with any of the national park’s policies, and this village is quite often the face of the national park. The whole village really doesn’t want it, there are only a handful of supporters. We’re not even a town. If we were, it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s a small village. It would be detrimental to the whole area.”

The consultation letters, sent to neighbouring residents by Pegasus Group ahead of a formal application being submitted, said Shared Access were considering plans for a 12.5m telecommunications structure in the grounds of the athletics club. The mast would improve mobile networks for the area, the letters said.

But campaigners, furious at the proposal, distributed copies of the letters across the village. A public meeting, inviting Shared Access representatives to speak, drew a crowd of around 60 people, while petitions have secured more than 130 signatures.

“We were horrified they were considering putting it in the middle of a housing estate,” said Mrs Wright. “The kids will eat, sleep and learn under this mast. It isn’t right.”

Fellow committee member Faye Coaten added: “The siting of the mast is right in the middle of the community. I live adjacent to it and I don’t want to sit and look at it out my window.

“We are in a national park area. Any application has got to be in context, and not have an unacceptable impact on the land. Feelings are running very high in the village.”

The consultation closed at the end of October, and villagers are waiting to see if a planning application will now be formally submitted. Shared Access were unavailable to comment.