Angel Wharf. Photograph: Friends of Regent's Canal

Inside a conservation area: Angel Wharf. Photograph: Friends of Regent’s Canal

Campaigners have launched a blistering attack on plans to build phone masts in the protected Regent’s Canal Conservation Area.

The phone giant Vodafone has submitted an application to Hackney Council to erect 12 pole-mounted antennas and two microwave dishes on the roof of Angel Wharf, between Packington Bridge and Holborn Studios.

But Friends of Regent’s Canal, a group which promotes the benefits of the waterway, has launched a campaign against the plans, calling the proposed masts “a forest of eyesores along the skyline”.

“This is absolutely the wrong place to erect phone masts,” said Ian Shacklock, spokesperson for the group.

“This is a popular stretch of the canal’s conservation area that includes heritage assets such as the Holborn Studios buildings and people come here to escape from busy city life.

“Why is Vodafone wasting taxpayer’s money by forcing council and other staff to analyse this defiance of conservation area principles?”

Mr Shacklock warned that the plans will impact not only on residents but on anyone who enjoys the canal.

“This will affect all canal users, not just the immediate residents. The initial illustrations might not disturb you but this is just the tip of the iceberg – it would set a disastrous precedent if Vodafone did not rethink their choice of location.”

A spokesperson for Vodafone said: “We continue to make significant improvements across the country as part of our £2 billion investment in the network and services for our customers.

“Without a mast or antenna nearby, the mobile devices that so many of us rely on would simply not work, and because the masts are low-powered, they have to be located near to mobile phone users – where they live, work and travel.

“We understand residents’ concerns about the visual impact of this equipment and we work hard to make sure we keep any impact to a minimum. In this case, the antennas and equipment cabinets will be roof-mounted.”

Hackney Council declined to comment, due to the planning application being live.

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Future plans: Angel Wharf with phone masts. Diagram: Mono Consultants Ltd

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