A Norfolk MP who has been a prominent campaigner for better rural mobile phone coverage is objecting to plans for a new telecoms mast in his constituency.

Duncan Baker, the North Norfolk MP, is supporting locals who are opposed to proposals for a 30m high lattice tower on Thwaite Common, Erpingham.

The company behind the scheme say it is essential to provide better mobile phone coverage, including fast 5G speeds.

Mr Baker has long campaigned for improvements to phone coverage in north Norfolk, which is notorious for its 'notspots', or areas with poor connectivity.

However, he believes the Erpingham scheme should be scrapped, arguing the mast should not be “slap bang” in the middle of the countryside.

He has proposed an alternative site.

Eastern Daily Press: Thwaite CommonThwaite Common (Image: Duncan Baker)

Thwaite Common is designated as a 'county wildlife site' by Norfolk County Council.

In a letter of objection against the plans, submitted by mobile infrastructure company Cornerstone, Mr Baker called for a rethink of the location.

“We cannot allow continuous telecom application where the applicants pay scant regard to any of the sensitivities of the beautiful area we reside in," he said.

Mr Baker said the parish council and locals were “extremely concerned” and urged Cornerstone to engage with them to find a more "sensible” site.

He said: “The parish council and community want better communications, but we cannot erect this mast in such an insensitive and beautiful area in a conservation zone.  

“Thwaite Common is clearly an important wildlife area and this mast is wholly unsuitable for this location.”

The MP suggested a better site would be to the east of the A140, which he said is higher and would be able to provide better coverage.

Planning documents submitted by Cornerstone say the scheme is a “viable opportunity” to fill in gaps in rural service provision and bring the area “into the 21st century technological age”.

The company also said the scheme will be set back from the highway and “assimilate” into the area due to the number of surrounding trees. 

A planning application for a similar structure in the same area was withdrawn last year following a wave of objections and a petition signed by more than 100 people.