A MOBILE phone company has indicated it is considering an alternative mast site following feedback from residents and politicians in the Knap area of Barry.

Vodafone met with Vale MP Alun Cairns to discuss the proposal to install a 12.5m-high mobile mast with ancillary cabinets in front of the main entrance to the Knap Lake Gardens.

A 616-strong petition opposing the plan to locate in the Barry marine conservation area has been submitted to the Vale council and Vodafone.

But some residents want an improvement in mobile phone signal.

Vodafone is working with other providers to reach maximum coverage in the Vale by the end of this year, which would include a minimum of 3G signal in current white spots such as The Knap.

Mr Cairns met with Graham Dunn of Vodafone, on September 1, to discuss the suggested site for the mast, and the concerns which constituents have raised about it blotting the landscape.

Mr Dunn informed Mr Cairns that a large proportion of installations are planned according to customers’ demands, and that Vodafone has received numerous complaints concerning the absence of sufficient mobile signal at The Knap, hence the provider’s efforts to erect a mast in order to rectify the issue.

Mr Cairns said he was grateful to explain residents’ points of objection directly to a Vodafone representative.

He said: “Whilst I understand that Vodafone wants to reach maximum coverage as soon as possible, the installation of a mast has to be in the right place. No location will be perfect, however I believe that residents’ concerns have to be considered as well, not just the engineering benefits of a site.”

In response to campaigners who submitted the petition to Vodafone, a company spokeswoman wrote to Nette Harkus, of Cornwall Rise, Barry.

The spokeswoman said: “I can advise that whilst the existing application is running we are looking into an alternative site in response to feedback from the local community. Specifically, we are looking at the potential of relocating the proposed base station to a car park nearby that has now become available.

“A site visit is due to take place shortly in order to establish whether the site would be suitable at the car park and what height would be required in order to provide coverage to the local community. It is envisaged that a much taller structure would be required due to the nearby tall trees and railway embankment.”

A planning case officer would also attend the site visit along with Baruc councillors - Nic Hodges and Steffan Willam.

Mrs Harkus said there were two issues arising from the response.

She said: “Firstly the car park has 'now become available' and, the lack of a comment regarding the land alongside the railway line.

“The suggestion that a taller mast may be required if the car park location is to be used seems to be a new consideration.

“Many people who signed the petition referred to the land along the side of the railway line but Vodafone do not even mention that proposition.”