A phone mast is to be erected in a residential area near the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Protesters failed to convince Blackburn with Darwen Council's planning committee to turn down plans for an O2 48ft mobile phone mast on an industrial unit of Meltech Engineering, Bonsall Street, Mill Hill, Blackburn.

Residents said they had expected the result and accused councillors of "buckling" to pressure from the company.

Kenneth Dootson, of Millwood Close on the opposite side of the canal to Bonsall Street, led the campaign against the mast.

He had presented a 300-signature petition to the council outlining fears that they have a negative visual impact on the area, potentially harm protected bats, and that in the future it could be found that masts were detrimental to health.

He said that there was good coverage on all mobile networks 500 metres away from the site, so the mast was not needed.

But Stephen Short, representing O2, told councillors that the firm had applied for permission for the mast because the company had been given notice to move the antanae currently covering the area from a base on Abbey Mill by October.

He said the company had looked into many other locations but a suitable one could not be found. He said: "You will get bad reception by October if we don't get a site."

Mr Short said he did not think it would be visually intrusive.

Labour councillor Andy Kay said: "These are always difficult decisions but I don't think we have any option.

"If we refuse it then it will be approved on appeal."

After the meeting Mr Dootson said they knew it was going to be approved.

"They turn some down but we knew they were going to buckle."