COUNTY MP Bill Wiggin has joined residents in Fownhope to try and get a mobile phone mast in the village after their efforts were scuppered.

The village was earmarked to have the mast installed under the Government's 'mobile infrastructure project' to improve coverage in the area.

A total of £150million has been set aside by the Government to help rural areas in the country and it was understood that Fownhope would receive some of the funding.

However, Mr Wiggin said that he received notification stating that the proposed mast had been withdrawn because there was enough mobile coverage in the village.

A petition has now been set up in the village to try and get the decision reversed.

"I immediately wrote to Ed Vaizey MP, parliamentary under secretary of state for culture, communications and creative industries at the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), raising my concerns," said Mr Wiggin.

"I have since written to The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, secretary of state for culture, media and sport, seeking a meeting to discuss Fownhope mast.

"I have also tabled a number of Written Questions in Parliament.

"I was delighted when Herefordshire was chosen to be in the first phase of deployment for the Mobile Infrastructure Project, but I was very disappointed to learn that Fownhope mast was set to be withdrawn.

"My constituents and I are greatly concerned by this and I will continue to press the Government to reverse this decision.”

Kevin Braybrook is one Fownhope resident who is behind the campaign.

He said that the village is in desperate need for better mobile coverage.

"We identified six potential areas to have this mast and then located the spot at a local farm," said Mr Braybrook.

"The planning application was going through, then suddenly the parish council got a communication saying that we already had a good enough phone signal here, so we didn't need the mast.

"Everyone is very concerned, so we lobbied Mr Wiggin to put pressure and central government to get the decision reversed.

"There is a petition in the village, which has been signed by about 200 people.

"A good mobile coverage is not just for local residents - businesses rely on it too."

A statement from the DCMS said: “Recent improvements in commercial mobile coverage mean the proposed site no longer meets the criteria, however we are looking at funding masts across Herefordshire.”