PLANS have been unveiled for a radio mast designed to enable village youngsters to stay in touch with the worldwide web.

Broadband coverage in Higham is said to be patchy, and governors at 135-pupil St John CE Primary School have drawn up proposals for an eight-metre high mast in the grounds of the Higham Hall Road school.

The mast, the cost of which has not been disclosed, would be painted dark green to blend in with the school’s semi-rural location, according to a planning application lodged with County Hall.

Two letters have been received from neighbours, after the plans were formally advertised.

One was concerned about the potential health impact on pupils, as the mast would be located close to the playground.

And the second raised fears regarding village youths trying to climb the mast out-of-hours.

County planning officials said the mast would be similar in appearance to a lamp post and so would not be considered a climbing problem.

No proven link had been established between such radio masts and health problems, county councillors have also been told.

A spokesman for the environment and public protection services department told councillors in a report: “Radio masts and antenna receivers are sometimes required to enable schools in remote areas to receive good broadband signals and to have access to the educ-ational services offered by Cumbria and Lancashire Educ-ation Online (CLEO).

“The proposed development would offer a number of educational benefits to St John CE Primary School.”

The CLEO network, which supports the application, provides a high-quality private broadband network for all schools across Cumbria and Lancashire.

It also provides a range of broadband technology in the classroom, and to support pupils learning at home, and for teachers in their work.

The mast application will be considered by the county council’s development control committee on January 5.