RESIDENTS are celebrating victory over plans by a mobile phone company to site a mast next to a family pub.

Bexley Council planners had recommended an application by T-Mobile to put a mast outside the Great Harry pub, Parsonage Manorway, Belvedere, be given permission.

But more than 500 people objected and many turned out at last week's planning control committee to protest at the plan.

Pub licensee Melanie Jones told councillors she had turned down an offer from T-Mobile to put the mast on the roof.

She said: "We are a busy family pub and raise lots of money for charity.

"To have said yes' would have been a controversial decision."

She says she had been dismayed to discover T-Mobile had decided instead to put the mast on the pavement outside the pub.

Mrs Jones says the proposed site for the mast would be 30ft from the pub garden, which has been given a £10,000 makeover to provide play equipment and a pets corner to cater specially for families with children.

She said: "This mast may not be outside a school but it will still cause distress to families with children."

Resident Julie Sheppey said just because there was already a lot of street clutter in the area, there was no need to add to it.

Residents were backed by their ward councillors Ann Lucas and Geoff Hacker.

Cllr Hacker accused T-Mobile of failing to investigate alternative sites thoroughly and said the unintended result of agreeing to the mast would be the loss of a valuable community asset the pub garden.

Cllr Lucas says Mrs Jones had been community minded in refusing T-Mobile. She said: "How awful then, to find plans for a mast next to her home and overlooking her bedroom windows."

Persuaded by the arguments, the committee refused the application.

It said the company had not done enough to explore alternative locations and the mast and cabinet would add too much clutter to the street.