A CAMPAIGN against plans for a mobile phone mast at a Blackburn Cricket club is gathering momentum after dozens of residents joined the fight.

More than 70 people have written letters of objection in relation to Vodafone’s plans for the 15-metre mast at the old tennis courts at Cherry Tree Cricket Club.

It comes after Cherry Tree Pre-School, which operates at the adjacent Woodlands United Reform Church, launched a petition, which has been signed by several parents.

Campaigners have concerns over the health risks related to mobile phone masts as well as its effect on the landscape.

However there is no evidence to suggest mobile phone masts pose any health risks, and planning officers are assessing whether or not planning permission is required.

Retired teachers Meg and Marty Casey, of Cherry Tree Terrace, have lodged one of more than 70 letters of objection.

Meg, 63, said: “It would be directly behind the pretty 125-year-old Woodlands United Reform Church in Preston Old Road and only yards from a thriving pre-school group.

“The mast, which would be surrounded by 7ft-high security fencing, would be clearly visible from the road and surrounding houses.

“It will not be obscured by trees, as the phone company claim. This type of structure is inappropriate in the middle of a residential area.”

The monopole would accommodate six 3G antennas on a shared headframe, giving the structure an overall height of 18.2 metres.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has 56 days from when the application was received to make a decision on whether or not planning permission is required.

Protestors’ views will be taken into consideration by the officers dealing with the application.

If no decision has been made after 56 days, Vodafone will be free to install the mast.

Marty, 65, said he would have preferred it if the application had been sent to the borough’s planning and highways committee.

He said: “We feel like small fish who haven’t been given an opportunity to voice our concerns.

“There is a lad who has just moved in next door and he said if he had known about the plans he wouldn’t have bought the house.”

No-one from the cricket club was available for comment.