RESIDENTS have praised a decision to block plans for an extended mobile phone mast on a street corner in their neighbourhood.
Portsmouth City Council officers have used delegated powers to refuse an application by Vodafone to replace a mast on the corner of Kirby and Copnor roads in Copnor with a larger one.
The structure would have been 15m high and taken the place of a 12m mast currently on the corner.
Copnor resident Laurie Beakes said he was thrilled with the decision, as the larger mast would have been even more of a blight on the neighbourhood than the one currently there.
Mr Beakes said: ‘We were all very delighted.
‘This other mast they were planning would have been an ugly eyesore.
‘It really would have made the road look unpleasant on the corner there.’
Mr Beakes said it would have added ‘insult to injury’ if the application had been granted as residents had also opposed the current mast at the site, which went up in 2011.
He said the council had wanted to turn down the planning application for that mast.
However, because of delays in the planning process it was forced to allow Vodafone to go ahead with it.
Mr Beakes said he wanted to thank everyone involved in the campaign to stop the mast going ahead, and in particular outgoing Copnor councillor Mike Park.
Cllr Park also praised the decision, but said the battle might not be over yet. He said: ‘I believe Vodafone have a right of appeal.’
Cllr Park said he thought mobile phone companies often took the ‘easy way out’ when planning new masts.
‘They know they can put them on highways if the council don’t object to them being there.
‘But I think they should negotiate with landowners to put them in other places where they would not be so much of a problem.
‘It would have been suitable for their needs but not suitable for the street scene in Kirby Road.’
Vodafone spokeswoman Jane Frapwell said the mast would have meant better phone and internet services for the area.
Ms Frapwell said: ‘We had hoped to bring 4G services to this area by changing the antennas and increasing the height from 12m to 15m.
‘We would always try to adapt an existing site rather than build a new one to minimise any visual impact on local communities.’
Copnor councillor Rob New also said the council had made the right decision over the mast.
Cllr New said: ‘I’m absolutely pleased that the planning committee has listened to local residents and has rejected an expansion of the phone mast.
‘It’s a real victory for the local people that live here’.