Residents of an Andover street are “appalled” by plans to build a 20m telecoms mast next to their local shops.

Mobile operators EE and Three have proposed the construction of a mast and nine cabinets on a patch of land on the corner of The Drove and Shakespeare Avenue.

This is to replace an existing mast located at the McDougalls Silo, which is “in danger of being lost from the network.”

An employee of one of the businesses located by the site of the proposed mast said the proposal was “unbelievable.”

“There shouldn’t be a mast there,” he said. “It’s too close to the houses.”

A group of local residents has come together to protest the plans, saying that the company behind the consultations, Waldon Telecom, “haven’t got a clue about the area.”

“Why on god’s earth put it in a highly populated residential area?” asked a spokesperson for the group. “The area that Waldon proposed is used by children being collected and dropped off to school twice a day, and a children like to congregate there.”

The group was also concerned about the impact of the mast on the environment. “It’s going to look hideous, and intrusive, and swallow up the green area between these four roads.”

There was particular concern that a tree on the site would be felled, with the residents applying for a tree protection order (TPO) from Test Valley Borough Council. However, Luigi Gregori, Town Councillor for Harroway, has said that current proposals “do not envisage the removal of the tree.”

Speaking to the Advertiser, Gregori said that the plans have “rightly raised concerns amongst local residents.”

“I share some of those concerns. Currently no planning application has been put forward. However, the telecom company has started a consultation process with a number of parties including Andover Town Council. Despite some foot-dragging, I have asked that it be put on the next planning meeting agenda.”

Other residents of the area, however, are nonplussed about the mast. “You’ve got to have it somewhere, haven’t you?” said one. “I don’t think it’ll make any difference. It’s people saying not in my back yard.”

There was some confusion amongst residents about the mast’s consultation, with some nearby residents having received letters from Waldon Telecom, while others did not.

The Advertiser has seen a copy of this letter, which states that “the site and design have been selected as they allow the technical requirements to be met safely, whilst keeping environmental and visual impact to a minimum.”

Test Valley Borough Councillor for Harroway, Carl Borg-Neal, said “Although a Planning Application has as yet not been submitted to TVBC, there is the potential a formal planning application will be made which will need to be assessed in accordance with planning guidance and which may come to Northern Area Planning as part of that process.”

“Due to this fact, as Chair of NAP, it would not be appropriate for me to comment outside the planning process.”

Waldon Telecom were contacted for comment, and said that they have passed on this request to their client, “as per our procedure for all press enquiries.”

Their client did not respond by the time the Advertiser went to press.