Staithes phone mast battle looks lost

Campaigners fighting against plans to stop a new phone mast being sited within the North York Moors National Park look set to lose their battle.

The village of Staithes.

Dozens of residents have sent letters to planning chiefs opposing the erection of a 12.5 metre high mast with antennas and dishes planned by Shared Access Ltd, in the grounds of Staithes Athletic Club.

More than 70 people from the historic fishing village - famed for its links with Captain James Cook - wrote to members of the North York Moors National Park’s planning committee over the proposals.

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Campaigners expressed fears the mast would spoil panoramic views of Staithes and noted it would be sited closed to 
the village primary school and homes.

Campaigners against the phone mast at Staithes

But in a new report by officials the committee look 
set to give the green light to the scheme at its meeting later this week.

Councillor John Nock, who represents the village on Scarborough Council, said: “Other sites should be explored.”

He added: “The mast will be out of keeping and will detract from the amenities for both residents band visitors.

“The application has caused a deep and bitter rift between residents and the club.“

Campaigners against the phone mast at Staithes

However, David Whitlock, a company owner of Cleveland Corrosion Control in Staithes, a supporter of the scheme, said: “Holiday villages need more than quaint rural charm to survive - they need thriving commercial businesses.

“We all enjoy living in historic Staithes but do we really want it to be known as the only part of the UK without mobile phone coverage?”

Mr Whitlock added: “Businesses competing against the 
outside world need all the help that the latest technology has to offer.

“UI have 40 years’ experience of business in Staithes and every day UI see situations where a good phone signal in our village would have been beneficial and where lack of a good signal causes inconvenience.”

Park planning officer, Hilary Saunders, said in a report to the committee, recommending approval, : “The mast would be considerably higher than the Athletic Club building.

“However in the context of the wider area of residential development with houses 
around nine metres high, and other associated utility structures, it is not considered that the siting of the mast would have an unacceptable detrimental impact.”

She added the level of opposition had “surprised” planning officers because of other communities in the National park seeking improvements to mobile phone coverage for residents, tourists, businesses and the emergency services.

The report continued: “It is not considered that the proposed siting or design of the proposed mast would result in an unacceptable detrimental impact on the character of the area.

“Furthermore, given that the Government has a strong commitment to deliver communications benefits to 
rural communities to the extent of taking the principle of such development out of the planning system in National Parks reinforces the strong material considerations weighing in favour of this proposal.”

The report, which will be discussed on Thursday at the planning meeting, added: “Consequently it is recommended that no objections are raised to the siting and design of the proposed mast.”