Phone mast battle '˜tearing village apart'

Campaigners fighting plans for a phone mast in one of North Yorkshire's best known tourist spots say the battle is tearing the village apart.

The village of Staithes and inset, protestors object to the phone mast.

Plans were passed last month for the build of a mobile mast in the grounds of Staithes Athletic Club, within the North York Moor’s National Park.

Dispirited residents in the historic fishing village had objected strongly to the scheme which they said would obscure views and leave families living in its shadow. And as developers Shared Access refuse a direct appeal from villagers to consider other sites, campaigners say the battle is dividing the community.

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“It really is tearing the village apart,” said ward councillor John Nock, who represents the village on Scarborough Council. “People are leaving as they can’t bear to live here any more. Yes, a mobile phone mast is essential for the community. Villagers live in a very fragile seaside economy with thousands of visitors every year. They know they need to accommodate this to survive as a seaside destination. But they just don’t want the mast there. It has caused a deep division.”

The North York Moor’s National Park’s (NYNPA) planning committee granted approval of the plans at its meeting in February. More than 70 residents had sent letters opposing the erection of the 12.5 metre high mast with antennas and dishes, claiming it will spoil views and will be only metres away from the village primary school and homes.

Coun Nock says he has since approached Shared Access with several other options for the siting of the mobile mast, all with interested landowners, but they have now declined to reconsider.

“Our appeal to their better nature has failed,” he said. “They need to know what it’s doing to the village.”

Shared Access declined to comment when approached by The Yorkshire Post.