PROTESTERS have claimed victory for the second time in their battle against a plan for a mobile phone mast.

Councillors threw out an application to site an O2 and Vodafone ‘Olympic legacy’ mast near a Weymouth school after parents told a meeting of their fears for children’s health.

Dozens of objection letters and a 362-name petition had been received, prompting Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s planning and traffic committee to debate the matter.

It is the second time in six months an application has been submitted to site the mast in the Rodwell/Wyke Regis area close to Holy Trinity School.

Last time the plan was withdrawn before it could be decided upon.

Planners were reminded at their meeting they could only take into account siting and appearance when considering the telecoms notification application.

But they were swayed by parents’ fears at what committee chairman Peter Farrell described as a ‘very heated’ meeting.

He said government legislation surrounding such issues was not clear.

The only councillor supporting the application was Sonia Cash who said she felt she had to follow planning rules.

The decision to reject it was greeted with delight by Helen Toft, a governor at Holy Trinity, who has been rallying people against the plan.

She said the applicant’s decision to move the mast 130 metres west from its original planned site on the corner of Buxton Road and Cross Road was not good enough.

The 14.8-metre tall mast would still be less than 200 metres from the school, she said.

Mrs Toft said: “We’re very happy with the decision but we’re not complacent because we think it will pop up again.”

She added: “The overwhelming concern of parents is that this technology is not conclusively proved to be safe in the long term.

“Guidance from the Department of Health is based on an independent investigation carried out in 2000.

“Young children in particular are proven to be more susceptible to radio waves because of their thinner skulls and in many European countries there is a 500 metre mast exclusion zone around schools.”

Mum Eve Cafferkey of Rodwell said: “If we don’t know the risk of these masts, we can’t take the risk.

“I’m sure the company will appeal or look for a new site so it’s not in the bag just yet.”

Other objectors claimed the mast would be an ‘eyesore,’ create visibility problems for traffic and spoil the street scene.

Babcock Networks had submitted the application for a site at the junction with Lydwell Close and Buxton Road.

It was to provide new third generation (3G) coverage to the area as part of a continued network improvement programme and part of a legacy for the 2012 Olympic sailing events.

James Holt of Babcock said it would be inappropriate to comment until a formal notice explaining the reasons for rejection had been received.