A VICTORY for common sense. That is how a decision to refuse permission for a mobile phone mast to be put up near homes has been described.

Phone giants O2 appealed to the government when Bournemouth council turned down its application for a mast on land at the back of Warnford Road.

But an inspector has backed residents and has told O2 to go back to the drawing board.

Inspector Phil Grainger, appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said the proposed mast would adversely affect the quality of life for nearby residents, who have been concerned about health implications.

"It would be plainly visible from some houses and the concern caused would detract from the well-being of their occupiers," the inspector concluded. "I dismiss the appeal."

O2 applied for permission for the mast due to concerns over limited reception in the area.

But the inspector concluded it had not properly examined other potential sites further away from homes and schools, such as Iford playing fields or Iford Meadows.

Cllr Dr John Millward said: "This is a victory for common sense and it will give hope to other people who are campaigning against phone masts. As far as I am concerned there is no doubt that this technology is harmful."

The proposed mast would have been disguised as a telegraph pole, another element which provoked criticism from Dr Millward.

He added: "People should know where they are and how many of them there are - they should not be disguised." But he warned: "People want mobile phones with good reception but they don't want masts. It is something everyone should think about."