NEIGHBOURS are furious at plans to build a 50ft telephone mast in their street – which most of them knew nothing about.

Only five homes in The Chase, Benfleet , were told of Vodafone’s plans to install the giant mast in a bid to boost mobile phone coverage in the area.

Now angry residents have banded together to start a petition opposing the plans and have been knocking on doors in and around the area trying to raise awareness of the mast plan.

They have already collected more than 70 signatures against the proposals.

Edward Barritt, 77, of The Chase, who started the petition with neighbour Scott Sullivan, said: “It is absolutely disgraceful the majority of people here, many of whom live only metres away from the site, haven’t been informed about this.

“We have been going round telling neighbours and asking their views because more people should know about this.

“Not only could it pose health risks, but they make a lot of noise, not to mention all our property values would probably plummet if it went ahead. I mean who would want to live near a huge thing like that, humming all day and night?”

Kim Catlin, 44, of The Rundles, said: “I couldn’t believe it when my neighbour told me about this 50ft mast because I knew nothing about it.

“It is disgusting I and so many others have not been consulted when it will be right on our doorstep.”

The latest mobile phone mast plan comes after residents launched a petition against plans to build a 65ft mast in Rushbottom Lane Benfleet following fears it would be a danger to their health and to schoolchildren attending three nearby schools.

The plans were rejected by Castle Point Council last week after council officers recommended the plans for refusal because it would be an eyesore to residents.

A council spokesman said: “The council consults with property owners living adjacent to and opposite a planning application site .

For further information please refer to the Council’s statement of community involvement which can be viewed on the council’s web site