PEOPLE power has triumphed in Benfleet after anxious residents launched a campaign to fight plans for a mobile phone mast in their street.

Neighbours rallied round to collect a petition and fire off letters of objection after they heard of the plans by Vodafone for the 50ft mast in The Chase.

Their persistence paid off when Castle Point Council refused the application.

In turning down the application, council officers said the mast would be an “obtrusive and unattractive feature” and “out of keeping with the character and appearance of the green belt area”.

Scott Sullivan, of The Chase, who started the petition with neighbour Eddy Barritt, said: “I am thrilled it’s been turned down. “This mast would have been right outside my house, so this is brilliant news.

“It would have devalued our homes and been a health hazard.

“It was only very recently we heard about plans for the mast and as soon as we did hear we had to act straight away.

“Hardly anyone in the street was informed. “The rules need to be changed about how these mobile phone companies work when it comes to putting up masts. All residents must be notified.”

A similar fight is brewing in nearby Church Road, Benfleet, after an application was submitted by Telefonica UK to put up an even taller mast, reaching 57ft high.

The metal grey pole would have nine antennae, three satellite dishes and a connected cabin unit, all of which would be on land next to the company, RWO Marine, at 231 Church Road.

This is just 400 yards from the Robert Drake Primary School.

Castle Point Council has already received more than 20 official letters from residents, listing their objections to the mast – mostly regarding health concerns – including one from Christine Redpath, headteacher of Robert Drake Primary.