With the full planning meeting of the North Yorkshire Dales Planning Authority due to consider the planning applications for four masts to serve West Witton and the surrounding area on March 10th there are now worries that restrictions on mast heights or even the rejection of one of the masts may scupper plans to improve broadband in the area.
The West Witton trial with Airwave is one of a number of pilot projects that are a mixture of public and private money set to run for a year initially to evaluate the problems, costs and benefits of various technologies. These pilot schemes will then be used to help the DCMS and Treasury decide how much public money to spend to resolve the issue of getting superfast broadband to the final 5%. The most important aspect for many is that BT is generally not involved. Perhaps a similar pilot scheme should have been what the original BDUK pilots were about, if the tight timescales wanted by politicians and campaigners had allowed.
While nothing has been confirmed and it won't be until the results of the planning meeting are known, if the Planning Authority insists on changes it may reduce the scope of the pilot in West Witton, i.e. create more not-spots where the wireless signal cannot reach or if its a key mast that is rejected it could scupper the project totally. We have contacted the Planning Authority, but don't expect anything until the 10th. Residents and businesses in the area can see nearby Leyburn and West Burton already enjoying superfast broadband speeds.