THREE out of four alternative phone mast sites have been refused by Wirral's planning committee in the wake of a controversial council blunder.

Scores of petitioners cheered as councillors turned down T-Mobile's plans for the "more visually intrusive" masts based a stone's throw away from the previous applications. And protestors branded the new proposals as "insanity."

Members said it would be "inconsistent" to approve the new proposals when they have turned down less visually intrusive masts in the past.

And Cllr Simon Mountney said the committee should have the "courage of their convictions" when deciding the suitability of each location.

Now the phone giant will go ahead with building the original masts in Hoylake Road, Moreton, Telegraph Road, Heswall and Pensby Road, Pensby, after officials forgot to send off decision notices within the 56-day time limit, granting the operator deemed consent.

An alternative 15m telegraph pole was approved by the committee and will go ahead in Upton Road, Claughton, subject to conditions.

All four alternative sights had been earmarked for approval as part of a compromise with the council, but a passionate debate put forward by petitioners, forced members to reconsider.

Joe Maroney, who lives in a maisonette in Pensby said that a new mast was planned just 40cm from his apartment, and at 15 metres tall, would dwarf the surrounding street scene with the road's street lights only measuring six metres.

He said: "The previous application was refused because at 12 metres tall, it was considered visually intrusive.

"How can this one go ahead when it is three metres bigger?"

He added: "The mast could easily be used as a climbing aid and would allow access into the flats through open windows.

"If the council approve this, then they would be encouraging anti-social behaviour and aiding and abetting crime."

Pharmaceutical worker Alison Sait from Holt Avenue, Moreton said she worked tirelessly to gather signatures on a petition to stop a mast in Moreton Cross, before she discovered that an alternative site would be put on her doorstep.

"Please do not put this mast in my road, I am begging you. "I cannot believe the insanity of this proposal. "It is us residents who elect councillors and MP's and we expect you to fight for us - our views must be heard."

Daly International representative Lisa Cosgrove appeared on behalf of T-Mobile.

She said: "T-Mobile requested these sites because of a lack of coverage in the surrounding areas. With other possible locations exhausted, we found that we are able to meet network requirements from these locations.

"We have used the slimmest and most discreet masts in the T-Mobile portfolio as there is an undisputable need for coverage in the areas."

But majority votes of 11-1 went against the new Pensby and Moreton plans, and 12 members refused the mast in Heswall, which was also deemed "visually intrusive."

Cllr David Elderton, a member of the committee, said he considered each unique application on its own merit. He said: "As a planning committee we would turn all three of these applications down because they are detrimental to the community.

"We need to apply logic as these masts are intrusive and if we approve them, how will we sustain our credibility?"