Phone mast row delay

By Tom Stirling Comment

CAMPAIGNERS fighting a Ryedale mobile phone mast have vowed to "keep up the pressure" after yet another 11th-hour setback.

The long-running dispute about the Orange mast in Sheriff Hutton now looks set to become even lengthier.

Ryedale District Council decided it needed to call in the district auditor and take expert legal advice from London-based lawyers to finally sort out the mast.

Sheriff Hutton campaigners said they were "fed up and angry" that the mast saga - which is now more than one year old - had still not been resolved.

Dozens of residents crammed into the public gallery at what should have been a meeting to rubber-stamping the mast's removal - only to be told there would be no resolution.

Coun Keith Knaggs told the meeting: "There have been significant developments and there is simply not enough time to give this matter the attention it needs. Further legal advice is needed."

The council therefore voted to overturn an earlier decision to pay Orange thousands of pounds to move the mast - which was only erected after bungling council officials failed to object to it within the legal time limit.

Coun Helen Schroeder said: "I am really disappointed that we have to defer this yet again. We always manage to find an excuse not to have a debate on it. I really feel we have now reached the end of the line - we cannot go on like this, it's not fair on anyone.

"We need to make a decision and stick to it."

Coun John Clark said: "The way that we have treated the people of Sheriff Hutton could have been improved immensely."

After the vote, anti-mast campaigner Andrew Murphy said: "We thought we had made significant progress, so we are all very disappointed. This mast is something that the community has resolved to fight against, and we will continue to fight until we win. That's the only outcome that is acceptable to us."

The council will meet again to consider the future of the mast once it has taken further legal advice.

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