RESIDENTS have been angered after plans to put phone masts on a community centre and church were passed.

Accrington’s Grade Two listed St Andrew’s Church, off Empress Street, recently had a £50,000 revamp and community room and kitchen installed.

Plans to put up a three-antennae phone mast have been rejected for cosmetic reasons in the past, but a new plan to install eight antennas has been passed by officers.

Although the plans from Vodafone had been amended to camouflage the mast behind the louvres in the church tower, residents fear the masts could put their health at risk.Residents from nearby streets sent a 38-signature petition, and letters of complaint, to Hyndburn Council.

Chairman of West Accrington Residents’ Association Tariq Ali said people felt they had not been listened to. He said: “When residents complain about the same thing in Hollins Lane, the application gets nowhere. But it just feels to everyone that when it’s an area like this, no-one is listened to. Residents wouldn’t have even known about the plan if we hadn’t been paying attention to the planning list.”

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said: “Some people have concerns about health issues and phone masts. However, we make sure all our installations are designed and built to international standards with public health in mind.”

Council leader Miles Parkinson said: “Officers will go through the planning criteria carefully with residents’ objections in mind. The health concerns are something officers can’t allow for as it’s not proven. Officers need proven reas-ons to reject plans.”