POOLE planners have thrown out a scheme to erect a mobile phone mast yards from a Canford Heath first school.

Communication giants Vodafone and O2 wanted to build a 15m-high column yards from the playing fields at Ad Astra First School.

But, yesterday, the scheme was refused by the Borough of Poole planning board after impassioned pleas from campaigners and ward councillors.

Helen Mark, a member of the school’s parent teacher association, said: “It’s great news, we are so happy it happened this way. It was virtually chucked out before it all started.”

Parents had expressed fears about siting a mast so close to their children’s school.

Cllr Jeff Allen said: “There are places where it could go which are much better than 30ft away from a school with pupils as young as four years old.”

Ward councillor Sandra Moore, who red-carded the proposals, effectively ensuring the decision came before the planning board, also spoke against the mast. She argued for an alternative site at the Canford Heath Neighbourhood Centre.

On the health aspect, Cllr Graham Wilson said: “I know the officers keep telling us there isn’t a problem, but I don’t want to be around in the future when we find out there was a problem.

“I’m infuriated by this proposal.”

As part of the application, the mobile phone companies submitted guidance on health concerns. They cite a World Health Organisation report from 2006, which states there is “no convincing scientific evidence that weak radiofrequency signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”

However, under current UK planning regulations, if a mast application is properly certified – as in this case – health grounds cannot be cited as a reason for refusing permission.

So the planning board refused on the grounds that alternative sites had not been properly considered.