CONTROVERSY over Selby's telecommunications mast rumbles on following a decision that will leave the district council with a much bigger share of the profits.

North Yorkshire Police and Selby District Council currently take profits from allowing third parties - such as mobile phone companies - to use the facility.

The mast earns about £15,000 a year, with the police taking the lion's share of profits - thought to be around 70 per cent compared to the council's 30 per cent.

But last night, councillors attending a meeting of the full council decided they would get a much better deal for the local authority if they split profits with a property developer, rather than the police.

As reported in The Press, council planners last week gave the go-ahead for the 45-metre mast to be moved from its current home behind the Civic Centre.

A new one will now be built in Prospect Way.

The move is part of a £16 million Dransfield Properties scheme to redevelopment Selby town centre.

Dransfield is set to expand the Market Cross shopping centre, including an extension to the nearby Morrison's supermarket and a new town centre car park.

The mast move was necessary to allow the relocation of Selby Abbey Primary School, whose current site is part of the Market Cross extension.

Deputy leader Brian Percival, said the deal to share profits with Dransfield was essential because the developer was footing the capital costs of moving the mast.

He said it was not fair that the police had been taking a large share of the mast's profits for years without incurring any costs.

He added: "The proposed income from the newly located mast gives greater equity to the district council."

But Wendy Nichols, the leader of the council's Labour opposition, said the money should continue to be shared with the police.

"This is about partnership working, and the police are an integral part of that in the district," she said.

"What effect would this have on the police and their budget?"

Last night's decision was taken behind closed doors and the new percentage split is not known.