A CONTROVERSIAL application for a 40 foot telephone mast in a residential estate has been thrown out by councillors.

The proposal for the 12.5m high column would have provided mobile phone coverage for Vodaphone and O2 and would of been situated on the corner of Sleepers Farm Road in Chadwell St Mary.

However concerned residents signed a 250 signature petition opposing the phone mast claiming it would be unsightly, it would be in the wrong place and it would attract graffiti and vandalism.

Peter Saunders, who pleaded the resident’s case to Thurrock Council’s planning committee said the mast would spoil resident’s views and would block an emergency access route.

He said: “We oppose this application not just because of the effect on Chadwell St Mary church but also because residents in the flats will find this mast in the middle of their view and it will certainly not improve it.

“It will be an obstruction and distraction to motorists and it will be subject to damage and vandalism.“ A report committee members stated the mast would provide improved 3G network coverage to weak reception areas including Chadwell St Mary and the design would be similar to a streetlamp.

Barbara Rice, ward councillor for Chadwell St Mary, highlighted health concerns with the mast.

She said: “We should not subject residents to concerns about their health or that of their children.

“It is totally not in keeping with the surrounding street scene and it would be 45 away from where some residents live.

“It is not surprising that a phone mast creates problems for residents.”

Committee member Gerard Rice, who voted to refuse the application, said: “I am not against mobile phones but I believe the mast should be away from residential areas.“