NEW mobile phone masts could harm North Yorkshire’s heritage, civic leaders have warned.

Plans to build up to 14 masts across Harrogate and Knaresborough, up to 65ft tall, have sparked fierce opposition in the area, but the applicants have said they are needed to cater for the large increase in the use of devices such as iPhones and Blackberries.

Proposals for more masts in York have also led to objections from residents, and City of York Council leader Andrew Waller last year voiced his own concerns about their spread.

David Winpenny, an executive committee member on the Yorkshire and Humber Association of Civic Societies, said: “Obviously, we understand the need for better communications throughout North Yorkshire, but that has to be balanced against the nature of the environment, particularly in historic towns. There are ways these masts can be installed in a discreet and sensitive way.

“We have an incredible heritage in North Yorkshire and we need to move with the times, but we also need to ensure this is protected properly.”