Residents of The Drove have celebrated after Test Valley Borough Council rejected a planned telecoms mast to be built in the town centre.

Waldon Telecom had applied, on behalf of mobile operators EE and Three, to build a 20m mast outside local shops on the corner of The Drove and Shakespeare Avenue, as well as building 9 cabinets on the site.

Residents had protested the plans, saying that it was “too close to the houses”, and the area of grass was regularly used by children to play.

After gathering comments from a range of parties, including the town council and their own planning officials, TVBC today decided to refuse the application. In their letter to Waldon Telecom, the council said that the equipment “would introduce unduly prominent and visually intrusive features into the existing street scene.” Furthermore, there was “insufficient information submitted” to assess the impact of the equipment on the sycamore tree present on the site, as well as nearby bat roosts.

Leader of TVBC, Councillor Phil North, said: “The report, issued today, states that the mast would be harmful to the appearance and character of the land and surrounding area and that the applicant had provided insufficient information to demonstrate that it would not have a harmful impact on an adjacent sycamore tree which also has the potential to contain a bat roost.

"I completely understand the need for telecommunications masts, which are essential for modern life. However, they are usually grouped together on roofs of commercial buildings or similar. The Council has, therefore, reached the conclusion that this mast by nature of its appearance and siting should be refused. I hope the applicant will now find a much more appropriate site.”

A spokesperson for residents on the Drove said: “I’d like to thank all the residents that signed the petition, and setting up websites and social media awareness; the Advertiser for getting it out there; Cllr North for all of his input on behalf of us; for the posters and petition papers done by Payne Printers in Whitchurch; the TVBC planning team for making the right decision and their hard work; and Andover town council for opposing it too.”

They added: “[Waldon Telecom] may try to come back with something smaller so we have to keep our eyes peeled.”

MBNL, EE and Three Mobile’s joint telecom venture which applied for permission to erect the mast, was contacted for comment.