Mast campaign candlelit vigil

By Tom Stirling

ANGRY campaigners will tonight hold a candlelit vigil around the mobile phone mast they have fought for months to remove.

Representatives from Ryedale District Council have agreed to travel to Sheriff Hutton to meet residents.

But the council has already decided it has no legal power to force phone giant Orange to move the mast.

Its mistake meant formal objections to the mast were sent in one day late. But a top lawyer said even if they had been delivered on time, they were not valid, and would not have made any difference.

That legal advice led the council to decide there was nothing it could lawfully do to get the mast moved.

But Sheriff Hutton campaigners maintain they never even got a chance to have their say on the mast, and feel let down.

Councillors on Ryedale's policy and resources committee have arranged to meet the residents tonight, at 7pm, in the village's Methodist church.

Campaigners will hold a candlelit vigil at 6.30pm at the foot of the mast, then march to the church.

Protester John Botting said: "I don't think councillors realise the strength of feeling. They haven't seen the village in terms all the people that could turn up at one time - they will get a big surprise.

"We have been disenfranchised by not being able to negotiate, and that has all been caused by the council's lack of appropriate action.

"We are going to give them the story from our side, explaining the number of errors made by the council. This isn't over by a long shot."

Coun Robert Wainwright, chairman of the policy and resources committee, said: "The advice we got from counsel is that we could properly make some modest payment to a project in the village, and that is what the meeting is about. It is a recognition that we have made a mistake."

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