THE Government's communications centre, GCHQ, has stepped into the dispute over plans to convert farm buildings into six workshops.

Minster Industrial Properties wants to carry out the development at Betton Farm, East Ayton, near Scarborough.

However, managers at GCHQ's Scarborough station at Irton Moor said that as the scheme is within 3.2 km of its "aerial farm" it did not want any of the units to be used for arc welding.

They also said that any businesses using electrical equipment would have to be properly supressed.

A spokesman said: "Should the units need overhead power lines of 33kv or more, then we would need to be informed as we would strongly object on the grounds of interference with our operations."

East Ayton Parish Council has told Scarborough Borough Council's central rural development committee that it is against the scheme.

In a parish council statement they said: "We feel it would be a total disaster for our picturesque and ancient village.

"Light industry is completely unnecessary for East Ayton, especially when there is ample provision for industrial development at the Scarborough Business Park."

The parish authority fears that the extra traffic that will result from the workshop scheme will aggravate the heavy traffic problems East Ayton already has.

The borough council's technical services director, Derek Rowell, says in a report to the committee that revised plans have been put forward by Minster Properties to overcome concerns about the design.