RESIDENTS have raised concerns that Helmsley’s church could be one of the buildings being considered to take part in a government 5G technology trial.

Rural areas with little or no mobile phone coverage look set to lead the way with the latest and fastest generation of wireless technology.

Alongside Helmsley, other areas of Ryedale being considered for the trial include Rosedale, Farndale, Hutton-le-hole, Lastingham, Hovingham and Castle Howard.

However, a number of residents have written to Helmsley Town Council expressing concerns that All Saints Church is being considered for a mast.

Resident Anne Nightingale said: “Our concern is that the PCC will take the stance of the developer and assume it is safe. This is not the case.

“Once these antennae are in place there will be a contractual obligation for them to stay.”

She added: “What will be the impact on health, local wildlife around the church and perceptions of safety from tourists and visitors who come to our beautiful town?”

Tony Porter, a member of Helmsley Town Council and business owner, said: “We don’t believe this technology can claim safety for the town, its people or the environment.

“These powerful masts are not welcome in close proximity to where people live and work.”

Reverend Tim Robinson, vicar of Helmsley, said: “We have been asked to consider telecoms equipment - 5G was not mentioned.

“The PCC will revisit, but not necessarily resolve, the matter in September.”

A North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) report states a consortium of bodies, including universities, have come together to undertake the project and the coming weeks will see an assessment for the appetite and adoption of the project in the areas and start to recruit early adopters to use the technology.

It adds the “network build phase” will begin in early July and will assess the location’s suitability from a coverage perspective and will be used alongside the socioeconomic factors to agree the final locations to be proposed.

It will also examine how 5G enables residents to access health and social care services digitally.

The report adds: “Through dialogue with the local community the aim is to unlock the potential of these forgotten areas, by proving mobile access can assist in recovering the social and economic fabric of rural communities and influence national direction on rural connectivity.”