Build support for new mobile phone mast, Blakeney told
Hopes have been raised that Treasury funds could still be secured to solve Blakeney's mobile phone signal black hole woes.
North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb and councillors Marie Strong and Andrew Wells said digital minister Ed Vaizey had urged them to build local support for a mast which could be put to chancellor George Osborne to seek funding.
It comes after a plan to build a mast at Friary Farm Caravan Park on Cley Road in Blakeney missed the boat for state aid amid local opposition because it was planned in an area of beauty.
Officials suggested planners should refuse the application because other sites should be looked at. The failure to secure permission saw the plan miss the deadline for the government's mobile infrastructure project.
Following the collapse of the scheme a meeting was called in Westminster where Dr Strong – who represents Blakeney on Norfolk County Council – said Mr Vaizey had been very understanding.
She said Mr Lamb and Mr Vaizey had agreed to lobby for a fresh approach, but said she needed to rally everyone in support of a project for a mast again. She said she would be talking to parish councils who had previously supported the project.
Mr Wells, another North Norfolk councillor, said the previous scheme had been 'top down' with consultants putting dots on a map and saying that was where they were going to put masts.
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'Over the next few weeks we are going to look at what proposals can be put to the Treasury. We are reasonably optimistic that they will look at it favourably.'
Mr Lamb said: 'There is still hope we can get this. It will depend on the chancellor agreeing to a new scheme – a demand-led scheme rather than a clunky arrangement whereby areas are told you are going to get a mast whether you like it or not. Around the country it has caused resentment.'
He said the case should be put together with the best site found and it should be taken to the minister who could put it forward.
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