RESIDENTS are worried about a new mobile phone mast near their homes as construction work gets underway.

Workmen have been on site at the junction of Portland Road and Dumbarton Road in Wyke Regis, Weymouth, to install a 12.5 metre telecommunications monopole for Vodafone and O2.

Residents in Wyke Regis were dismayed to see work starting last week and are planning legal action to have it removed.

Wyke Regis borough councillor Kate Wheller said: “The residents had objected quite strongly, but one of the problems is that people object on the health issues rather more than the aesthetic issues.

“But health issues don’t have any bearing on planning issues.

“I will be taking it to the council’s legal department to try and have it removed, but with so many of these things we are a tiny authority up against multi-national companies with huge legal resources.”

Vodafone and O2 are installing the mast to provide new third generation (3G) coverage.

Under the Cornerstone project, the two companies have entered into an agreement to share equipment across the UK.

It comes as the companies won an appeal to erect another mast near a Weymouth school.

The planning inspectorate recently upheld the appeal by Cornerstone to allow another mast on the junction of Lydwell Close and Buxton Road close to Holy Trinity School.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council originally refused the application in March following a 362-name petition from worried parents.

Planning inspector Jennifer Armstrong said: “Objections have been made on the grounds that the proposal could be a danger to health, particularly because of its location in relation to school property.”

But she said their concerns do not outweigh advice from the government’s planning policy on telecommunications development.

Colin Huckle, chairman of the Rodwell and Wyke Regis Pact, is disappointed by the decision.

He said: “Although the science is not proved one way or the other, you wonder how safe it is.

“It is disappointing because there must be plenty of other places where these things can go.”

A spokesman for Vodafone and O2 said: “We do our very best to make sure that we minimise the visual impact of our installations and this appeal win means that we can supply much needed services to the local community.”

A spokesman for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said: “The council’s Planning Committee rejected an application to site a telephone mast at Lydwell Close, Weymouth, however the applicant then successfully appealed against the council’s decision.

“The council has no powers to influence this decision, and is also legally obliged to allow a second mast to be sited at Dumbarton Road, Wyke Regis.”