Neighbour's anger over phone mast plan at The Green Tennis Club

Plans to put a mobile phone mast in a residential area have sparked anger.

Neighbours of The Green Lawn Tennis Club, Tower Road West, St Leonards, reacted with dismay to the news the club was proposing to host a temporary 15-metre high mast for mobile giants Vodafone.

The company needs two new transmitters because its main one on the old Hastings College site was shut down in January.

Two applications to build replacement masts were turned down in December and now engineers want to erect one at the tennis club for 12 months while they work on a permanent solution.

But Jean Barrow, 58, of Charles Road West, whose garden backs onto the club slammed the plan,

She said: "I am just so angry. I know we live in a mobile phone society and we need to go along with the times but although everybody wants the masts nobody wants them in their back garden.

"My main concern is the way this has been done. We were not balloted or asked our opinions but just received this letter which suggests it is a done deal. That is very underhand and I am furious about it."

A spokesman for the tennis club's committee said the mast was still only a possibility and insited it would be temporary.

And Dr Rob Matthews, of Vodafone, said: "Under the current legislation we have emergency powers that allow us to install a temporary site for a period of six months that would ensure that coverage for our customers is maintained.

"We have approached The Green to put a temporary site on their land, while we seek a permanent solution, and the tennis club have sent out letters to local residents.

"Once negotiations with the tennis club have been completed, we will submit the relevant paper work to planning authority.

But Hastings Borough Council spokesman Caroline Kelly said planning officers were looking into the matter.

She said: ""Planning legislation around phone masts is complicated. Masts are allowed to be erected, temporarily, for up to six months as an emergency measure without planning permission or prior approval.

"We have had no direct correspondence with Vodafone over the proposed temporary mast. Our officers have, however, been passed copies of the plans and letters to residents from the Green Lawn Tennis Club, on whose land the mast would be sited.

"We understand that while the mast itself would be 15 metres, the overall height, including the mobile base station, antennas and dish would be just over 18 metres high. A temporary fence would also be placed around the base station.

"In this case the fencing around the base station will certainly require planning permission and we will be in contact with the tennis club to discuss the details of Vodafone's plans and if necessary advise them to seek planning permission."