Campaigners claim ‘over 90 per cent opposition’ to Sedgeford mast plan

Surrounded by Sedgeford residents Lynda Green-smith and Jim Worley (centre) point to the site of the proposed telecommunications mast on the village playing field ANL-150819-145939001
Surrounded by Sedgeford residents Lynda Green-smith and Jim Worley (centre) point to the site of the proposed telecommunications mast on the village playing field ANL-150819-145939001
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More than nine in 10 residents are opposed to plans to site a 60 foot telecommunications mast on their village’s playing field, campaigners say.

Opponents of the plan for Jarvie Close, Sedgeford, claim all but 12 of the 159 residents they have surveyed so far are against the scheme, suggesting 92 per cent opposition.

But parish councillors have now formally backed the scheme, which they maintain has the overwhelming support of villagers.

Developers Arqiva are seeking planning permission from West Norfolk Council for a mast of around 57 feet in height and six antennae on the site close to the village hall.

The proposal is part of a government programme designed to improve connectivity in areas that are known to have poor mobile phone coverage, known as ‘not spots.’

And, in documents published by the borough council yesterday, the village’s parish council set out its support of the scheme.

They said: “Residents have expressed concern for many years about poor mobile phone signal in much of the village. The proposed telecommunications base station tower appears to offer the best solution to this problem.”

The authority also pointed out that its own survey of village opinion showed 281 residents in favour and only 39 against, indicating 87 per cent support.

And, in her submission to the borough council, resident Jacqueline Sandle said: “To prove how supportive I am of this proposal, place it in my back garden and I will take the money, thank you very much, and spend it on something of my choice.”

But almost 30 letters of objection have already been sent to the borough from residents.

In one, Sally-Ann Batterham, whose home backs onto the site of the proposed mast, questioned why “such a large monstrosity” could be allowed when she could not have a television mast on her property because of the perceived impact on the landscape.

Another, Bryan Williams, said: “The mast would be a highly visible eyesore.”

Opponents also maintain that other methods of boosting phone signals, and better alternative sites for a mast, are available.

But the parish council said: “The company tasked to survey this area has stated this was the only site which met all of their criteria and that, if this site was not approved, no other option would be considered.”