A bid to build a 40m-high 5G phone mast in a Norfolk woodland has been blocked despite villagers' complaints of bad signal.

EE wanted to build the tower at a forest clearing in Thorpe Woodland in Harling, near Thetford.

It was hoped it would help improve signal at the rural location - something that locals said was an issue in the area.

Eastern Daily Press: The Breckland Council offices in DerehamThe Breckland Council offices in Dereham (Image: Archant © 2013)

READ MORE: Row over major estate revamp's land deal 

One woman, who supported the bid, said it would help give her more confidence to walk her dogs there knowing that she could call friends and family in an emergency.

READ MORE: Company revives rejected plans for two 5G phone masts

But others were unconvinced, with some worrying it could harm the "natural beauty" of the area.

Natural England also raised concerns that the mast could harm wildlife in the woodlands, particularly protected birds like nightjars and woodlarks.

Breckland Council planning officials decided that there was insufficient information submitted by the applicant to prove the need for the tower at the location, despite locals' signal complaints.

There was also not enough evidence it would not damage the natural environment of the woodland, which is part of the Breckland Special Protection Area.