CONTROVERSIAL plans for a phone mast in the Chalke Valley which received planning permission six weeks ago will now no longer be built, the telecommunications company has said.

Arqiva's plans to build a 27.5 metre phone mast in Ebbesbourne Wake were approved by Wiltshire Council officers on October 28, subject to conditions.

But the company has now said it will not be building it because it cannot complete it by next March, when government funding for the project is expected to end.

Residents living close by were split over its benefits and the visual effect it would have with many of those in Ebbesbourne Wake in favour of it and a number of residents in Alvediston, a neighbouring village, against it.

The mast was due to have been built on land owned by North Hill Farm in Ebbesbourne Wake and provide coverage for all four mobile network operators - Vodafone, O2, 3 and EE.

Mobile network coverage is non-existent in some areas called "not spots" and the plans were part of the Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), a £150m government-funded project to correct a market failure in the provision of mobile phone coverage.

On Monday, an Arqiva spokesman said: “Unfortunately the planned mobile mast at Chalke Valley is not going ahead, as it will not be possible to complete the project by March 2016 when the programme is due to end.”

In its plans submitted for approval, Arqiva said if permission was refused, the opportunity to eradicate the not spot in the area would be lost, "in all probability forever".

Its predicted coverage would enable 165 premises to receive network signal.

Those in favour highlighted the benefits ranging from a fast response to accidents to helping vulnerable people breaking down in cars, delivery drivers able to contact customers and access to faster internet speed.

Those against it pointed out that the "huge and ugly" structure would be "very apparent" from Alvediston while due to the lie of the land, many in Ebbesbourne Wake would have no sight of the mast.

Alvediston parish meeting chairman Robin Garran said there had been confusion in the village over Arqiva's position with an email being sent to Wiltshire Council from the company after it had received permission insinuating it was unlikely to carry out the project due to "local concerns".

He said: "There is not one person in our village who does not accept that mobile telephone coverage in the Chalke Valley is long overdue.

"We are a 'not-spot'. Objections to a single mast of 90ft centre on the lack of consultation for this unsightly solution on the high ground in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and whether alternative solutions were properly explored."