Plans for a 25m telecommunications mast designed to help facilitate the delivery of the EE Emergency Services Network at a Dartmoor beauty spot have been rejected as it would ‘destroy the area’.

The proposal from EE to install the 25m lattice with two antennas at Burrator Reservoir is part of the national upgrade programme for emergency services communications, with the Home Office requiring a new past and coverage upgrades in the area.

But the Dartmoor National Park Authority development management committee on Friday agreed with officer recommendations to refuse the scheme due to the unacceptable impact on the area that the siting of the mast would have.

Calling for committee to refuse the plans, Diana Moyse said: “Local residents fear the appearance is too damaging to make it worth it for so little coverage of the road around the reservoir. Burrator is a lovely area and this installation will destroy it.”

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Planning officer Phil Twamley, making the recommendation of refusal, said that while the Authority remains committed to the principle of finding an appropriate solution to facilitate the delivery of the EE Emergency Services Network in this area, the siting and appearance of the development as proposed would however have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character and appearance of the immediate vicinity that includes two locally significant heritage assets.

Chris Hart, planning team manager, added: “We don’t challenge the need but we need a solution that suits the National Park and the protected landscape, and officers don’t think this is the appropriate solution at this time.”

But Norman Gillan, speaking on behalf of EE, said that as well as the emergency service network, the mast may offer a 4G mobile service to local EE customers, providing access to digital services that are increasingly essential to everyday life and business, and a 999 service to all mobile users.

He added: “The Home Office require coverage around the reservoir and the requirement will not go away until it is met, and the public benefit is that it provides vital services for EE and emergency services.”

Stuart Barker said that the need for connectivity was growing every day and he didn’t think that this would be damaging to the landscape, and Peter Smerdon said that they should be supporting things that make life easier for the emergency services.

But the committee voted by 12 votes to three in line with the officer recommendation to refuse the scheme.