PHONE giant Vodafone has lodged an appeal with the Government to try to overturn Wirral Council's refusal to grant planning permission for a new communications mast at Moreton.

The firm made its move just two days before the six-month appeals deadline came to an end.

Now the council's ruling will be subject to a public inquiry at a date to be fixed.

The Globe reported in April that the company had submitted a scheme for a 9.4-metre G3 phone mast near a children's play area in Town Meadow Lane.

The application was rejected by Wirral's planning authority on April 22.

But ward councillors learned this week that Vodafone has now submitted an appeal to the Secretary of State for Environment in the hope a Government planning inspector will quash the decision.

Councillor Chris Blakeley is supporting a campaign to prevent the application being approved this time around.

He said: "The cynical side of me says that they left it this late to appeal because it’s winter, it’s getting close to Christmas, a time when people will have other things on their minds than phone masts.

“Hopefully, the planning inspectorate will see sense and reject the appeal.

"Residents and myself will keep up the fight to stop this application going through.“

Earlier this year a petition of around 150 signatures against the proposal was presented to the council.

Protestors claimed the mast would be a blot on the landscape and too near a children's play area, which had recently undergone an £80,000 refurbishment.

A Vodafone spokesman said: “Vodafone have a requirement to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in Moreton.

“The proposed radio base station at Town Meadow Lane would have provided the required coverage improvement and ensured that our customers could access mobile broadband with speeds similar to those offered by fixed line broadband suppliers.

“We were disappointed that the local planning authority decided to refuse the application and as with all refusals, we made a thorough review of the reasons for refusal and the potential alternatives available.

“This led us to the belief that the proposed site at Town Meadow Lane is the best site to provide the coverage improvements that we seek and therefore we decided to appeal the refusal.”