Staithes phone mast battle looks lost

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

Campaigning residents in one of the local area’s best known tourist beauty spot villages are set to lose their campaign to block the building of a mobile phone mast.

More than 70 people at the historic fishing village of Staithes have sent letters opposing the erection of a 12.5 metre high mast with antennas and dishes planned by Shared Access, in the grounds of Staithes Athletic Club.


But the North York Moors National Park’s planning committee is being recommended to give the green light to the scheme at its meeting, on Thursday.


Protestors claim the mast will spoil views of Staithes and will be only metres away from the village primary school and homes. One protestor said: “It will have a detrimental visual impact when approaching Staithes on the Cleveland Way.”


Cllr John Nock who represents the village on Scarborough council has said that other sites should be explored. He added that the site was unregistered with the Land Registry and the ownership has not been identified: “The mast will be out of keeping and will detract from the amenities for both residents and visitors. The application has caused a deep and bitter rift between residents and the club.”

He added: "Residents are not opposed to a mast per se. It is well recognised that the proliferation of mobile communication will continue and destination villages such as Staithes must remain attractive to visitors who rely so heavily on digital communication."


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.”


Park planning officer, Hilary Saunders, says 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.
“It is not considered that the siting or design of the mast would result in an unacceptable detrimental impact on the character of the area.”