A NEWLY-erected communications mast has left people living nearby up in arms.

The mast, installed by BT at the top of East Park Road, Blackburn, has been put up despite a three-year fight from locals opposed to plans for several masts in the area.

It is situated on the triangle of land between East Park Road, Shear Brow and St James’s Road.

A public meeting is being held tonight at St James’s Church, St James’s Road, for people to air their concerns, and Blackburn MP Jack Straw has agreed to attend.

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern, planning chiefs and representatives from BT have also been invited to attend.

Alan Watson, 53, of St James Road, said he still had a copy of a petition signed by 500 people in the area against a mast from about three years ago.

He said: “For three years we have been fighting masts in this area.

“Various teams have tried to get a mast up there and have failed for the three years. I went to a meeting last month and it was brought up that the issue of masts in the area had been resolved and planners were looking at other areas.

“Then I got a call from a neighbour last week saying he was looking up at a crane that was putting the mast in place.

“It is about 20 metres tall and surrounded by all the little electrical boxes so it is an eyesore.

“To me it is also a health risk as they give off radiation that could cause cancer.”

Because of the size of the mast it can be erected after the council has been notified.

All masts have to meet national and international safety guildlines before they are installed.

Shear Brow councillor Suleman Khonat said: “It didn’t go to committee, but there was a very strong objection to it.

“I am very concerned.

“It was refused twice before but obviously this time it has just gone up.”

BT was unavailable for comment.