IT WAS a bad night for mobile phone companies when four applications for masts were refused by Bexley Council's planning committee.

One joint application by two companies, for a shared mast at the William Camden pub in Avenue Road, Bexleyheath, was turned down by councillors, despite being recommended for permission.

Residents at the three other application sites were fighting off masts for the fifth and third and second times.

Wendy Daniels of Avenue Road, Bexleyheath, spoke on behalf of residents opposing the William Camden application, which was a joint one by Hutchinson 3G and Orange.

Both companies each had a previous application for nearby masts turned down.

Mrs Daniels told the planning committee apart from being an eyesore, residents strongly believed the mast could be a future health risk.

She said the site was near a sheltered housing scheme, three schools and a nursery.

Mrs Daniels said: "If phone masts are not a risk, why has the council banned them from its own land?"

She was backed by ward councillor Sharon Massey who said the mast would be taller than the pub's tallest chimney.

Councillor Alan Downing said the two firms kept coming back to the same site instead of looking for an alternative.

He added: "This application is significantly worse than the previous ones."

Despite a recommendation to approve the mast, it was turned down with no votes against.

People in Lakeside Close, Blackfen, have already fought off three applications from Vodaphone and one from One2One st the nearby the Danson underpass.

Last week an application from Orange for a mast in the close, near the gates to Danson Park, was refused again.

For the residents in Harcourt Avenue and Penhill Road, Bexley, it was the third time around.

They have seen off attempts from O2 and Orange to site masts on the junction.

This time it was another application from Orange which councillors refused.

Two residents from the Days Lane area addressed councillors in front of dozens of residents about plans by O2 for a mast disguised as a telegraph pole in Days Lane, Blackfen.

A previous application by the same company was refused in May this year.

This one was unanimously refused.