'A blot on the landscape' - MP joins villagers in mast protest

Duncan Baker (centre), around a dozen people and chairman Barry FitzPatrick by the Thwaite Common

Duncan Baker (centre), around a dozen people and chairman for the Alby with Thwaite Parish Council, Barry FitzPatrick by the Thwaite Common protesting the proposed telephone mast. - Credit: Jessica Coppins

Villagers were supported by their MP as they came out to protest against the installation of a telephone mast.

Villagers held a protest against the mast at Thwaite Common on November 5, after an application to build a 30m 4G mast received 70 objections.

Around a dozen people turned out, along with MP for North Norfolk, Duncan Baker, and chairman for the Alby with Thwaite Parish Council, Barry FitzPatrick.

Mr Baker said: “This is an absolutely beautiful area, and it’s (the mast) going to quite clearly be a blot on the landscape.

“Nobody is against improving our telecommunications, but the people that put these planning applications in have to get out from behind their desk and come and see where they’re putting them physically on the ground in areas of outstanding natural beauty.”

Caroline Cutts by the Thwaite Common, protesting the proposed telephone mast. 

Caroline Cutts by the Thwaite Common, protesting the proposed telephone mast. - Credit: Jessica Coppins

A Cornerstone spokesperson stated: “Cornerstone understands that our mobile infrastructure impacts communities. The proposed site at Erpingham was identified following discussions with the parish council.

“We give great consideration to minimising the visual impact in our designs. We aim to ensure they blend into the area as much as is possible while enabling quality digital connectivity to the communities we serve. 

“Integral throughout is our engagement with local stakeholders. As part of this engagement, we have sought stakeholder comments on the proposed base station at Erpingham from local ward councillors and the local MP.  The proposed site will provide 2G, 3G, 4G and smart meter services to the local community.”

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Mr FitzPatrick believes the mast would stick out in the landscape: “It will be half the height of Durham Cathedral, and its shiny steel is not going to be blended in with the green.

“It is right next to a stream that has crested newts in, and the common is a habitat for all sorts of wildlife, including barn owls, so we do not believe putting it there is either in the interest of the wildlife or the people who use the common.”

Bob Grimble, who lives Thwaite Common protesting the proposed telephone mast.

Bob Grimble, who lives Thwaite Common protesting the proposed telephone mast. - Credit: Jessica Coppins

Bob Grimble, who lives on the common, said: “I am here to protest against the installation of that horrendous mast that is going to really go against the amazing countryside that we have.

“It is a conservation area, and we do not know what this mast might do to it.”

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