RESIDENTS have claimed a victory over a phone company after fighting off plans for a telephone mast in Haydon Wick.

More than 200 residents, with support from the Adver and councillors, have managed to get the application from 02 thrown out.

Phone company O2 applied for prior approval notification for the siting of a 14.8m telecommunications pole and associated cabinets to power it on a grass verge in The Street.

In 2001 Haydon Wick residents thought they had finally succeeded in preventing a mast being put up in Haydon Lee Drive and they now hope this will be the end of the applications.

Richard Burge, 51, said he was alerted to the mast, which would be less than 10m from the back of his house, when he received consultation documents for a new mobile antenna in The Street, Haydon Wick.

Gary Webb, 47, of Sherford Road, helped lead the campaign against the mast.

He said: “We had more than 200 signatures against the mast and the support of the local paper, the councillors and the school.

“Everybody in the area was against the plans and I am pleased the council has listened to us and acted.

“At one stage it was frustrating and we felt like we weren’t getting anywhere, but everybody has come together.

“Our councillor phoned me straightaway to let me know the council had kicked it out based on the height of the mast and the proximity to the buildings.

“Who knows if this will be the end of it or whether they will appeal, but we can only hope and it is nice we have had our small victory.”

Haydon Wick councillor Rex Barnett said the area had stopped a phone mast going up in the past and they would fight again to prevent it this time.

He said: “We don’t really know about the problems these masts can cause to people’s health, but this thing will be right by the school and people’s homes and the size of it will be a mark on the landscape.

“To be honest, I can’t see the need for it. I have not spoken to anyone who has complained about their signal in that area. I think we have hundreds of industrial estates where masts can be put up without any concern to anyone.”

The Adver tried to contact O2 for a comment, but no-one was available.