VILLAGERS were celebrating victory today after councillors backed their plight and turned down a planning application to site a mobile phone mast near their homes.

Homeowners in Hallow, near Worcester, said they were ecstatic after their concerns about the Orange mast were heeded.

The phone company had applied for permission to put a "lamp-post style" column in a verge opposite 101 Hallow Road.

Around 20 people packed into a Guildhall council chamber yesterday to oppose the plan.

Peter Yates, the city's principal planning officer, said the scheme could not be refused because of safety concerns.

"The Government has issued safety guidelines which mobile phones firms must take advice from," he said.

"This application by Orange falls well within these guidelines. Therefore safety cannot really be an issue."

The group of residents was represented by Chris Chapman, of Hallow Road, who said people did not want it near to their homes.

"We feel this isn't a suitable site and we greatly oppose it," he said. "A mast like this type would have a great impact on us and it would be exceptionally intrusive.

"We're also very concerned because the mast would be sited near to a dangerous bend. There have been three serious accidents there in the last 10 years - two people have been killed.

"This mast would be yet another distraction on that bend."

Councillor Mike Layland agreed with Mr Chapman's concerns. He said he would not want the mast near to his home.

"I find this to be very unsightly and not in keeping with the area," he added.

Coun Robert Rowden said he believed masts should be kept near to industrial estates, suggested in the Local Plan.

But Coun Geoff Williams said he did not believe the committee had enough grounds to refuse the application.

Mr Chapman's wife, Gloria, said today villagers were overjoyed that councillors listened to their concerns.