A ROW has erupted over the proposal for a mobile phone mast to be built in Abbotsbury.

Residents have expressed their concerns regarding a planning application to erect a mobile phone mast, which would measure 20 metres high, and would be placed 500 metres away from the village centre.

The application has prompted more than 30 comments, many from local residents who are concerned about the visual impact of the scheme, the detrimental effects it could have on health and house prices, and who claim they already have signal in the village.

Andrew Green, who is leading the protest against the mast, said: “Firstly, this is an area of outstanding natural beauty, it’s a conservation area and it’s the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership action plan area. It will completely destroy the view coming in to the village.

“The second thing we’re concerned about is the health implications for humans and animals, as there are a lot of farm animals around here.”

The mobile phone mast would be built as part of the governments Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), a £150million scheme to improve mobile coverage in areas where it is poor or non-existent.

Mr Green added: “It doesn’t fall within the MIP anyway because there isn’t ‘no signal’ here. We think the council should be rejecting it on those counts alone.”

However, chairman of Abbotsbury Parish Council Henry Ford said that he fully supported the application.

He said: “My feeling is that the majority would like to enjoy the benefits of having a mobile, iPad or other such device.

“We are living in the 21st century and everyone is accustomed to having their mobile phone, and I want Abbotsbury to enjoy this benefit.

“As for safety concerns, I don’t think the government would have knowingly put something in place if there was any suggested danger or risk.

“I accept that some people will have reservations, but I don’t feel it will have a terrible impact.”

He added that it would benefit people in times of emergencies.

“As for emergency services, I do have concerns, and it brings back memories of a lady who slipped and broke her ankle and was left until someone else found her. This sort of thing does happen.”

The parish council approved the application which is now set to be reviewed by the development control committee at West Dorset District Council on Thursday, February 12. However, this date is to be confirmed.