RESIDENTS of a South Lakeland town are angry about being left in the dark over the arrival of an "unsightly" telecommunications mast at the top of their parish church.

There have been complaints in Milnthorpe about the bright white mast protruding from the tower of St Thomas' Parish Church and some people claim to have experienced problems with television and internet reception.

According to Peter Capasso, the chairman of Milnthorpe Parish Council, one elderly resident forked out £250 for repairs as she believed her television was broken.

But now, following a raft of complaints, Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL) has agreed to replace the mast with a modified pole.

The telecommunications company had put up the mast to boost mobile phone coverage in the area after discussions with the Parochial Church Council.

But ever since it went up there have been grumbles from residents about there being no forewarning about its arrival and the possible effects on reception.

Mr Capasso told the Gazette that he was frustrated that information about when the mast would arrive was not accessible when the works were being done on the church at first.

"We never received a so-called card from this organisation to say they were coming," he said. "We only found out who we could reach out to when we did some research on the internet.

"As a consequence of this we want to make other parishes aware of what happens and what the best next point of call is. Were this organisation to come back in the future, we want to get plenty of warning in advance, and not simply through the internet, as not all of us are online.”

Margaret Brown, owner of the Refresh cafe, said: "We couldn’t receive our orders through the internet because we had no information that this was going to happen.

"We didn’t advise our customers early enough. We had nothing (reception) for 10 days. I was just hoping the connection was going to come back."

Church spires are increasingly being used to boost mobile and broadband coverage in rural areas. Sixty-five per cent of Anglican churches in England are in rural areas and their locations at the heart of their communities mean they are often well placed to address connectivity and coverage problems.

A spokesperson from at800, the company responsible for ensuring that consumers continue to receive clear Freeview TV signals following the roll out of 4G mobile services, sent postcards warning of possible issues with signal and reception were mailed to 319 Milnthorpe properties in November 2017.

"We're continuing to support viewers in, and around the area, and since August 1 have provided assistance to 64 households," said an AT800 spokesperson. "We've sent 49 free filters and conducted 29 home visits, where 14 cases of 4G related interference have been diagnosed."

Anyone wishing to discuss their freeview reception with at800 can find their home page at: and can also be contacted by phone on 0808 13 13 800