Planners have refused an appeal by a telecommunications giant for a controversial mobile phone mast opposed by residents.

The South Belfast News first reported in November 2010 that the Planning Service had turned down an application by Vodafone over plans to erect the base station and assorted equipment at the junction of the Rosetta Road and Mount Merrion Avenue.

The company appealed the decision in February of this year. However, the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) announced on Monday (October 3) it had backed the original decision and rejected the application.

Rosetta resident Jane Smith, who helped start a ‘not on our doorstep’ campaign against the mast, said locals were delighted with the outcome.

“We had hundreds of signatures on a petition and dozens of letters outlining the reasons we opposed this mast, so we are glad the PAC have taken our views onboard.

“It has been a long battle but I think we are definitely victorious now.”

Local Alliance Party councillor Michael Long, who had enlisted the backing of Castlereagh Council in opposing the mast, also welcomed the decision..

“I am pleased that the PAC have agreed to our objections and I would also like to thank the council’s planning officer who put forward our objections to the appeal.”

A PAC spokesperson confirmed the appeal had been refused.

A Vodafone spokesperson said the company was “disappointed” the appeal had been refused. “We considered this to be the best option available to provide the services our customers locally demand. We will look at what the PAC have concluded and review our options for the future.”