PROTESTERS have lost their fight to stop a 40ft high mobile phone mast being put up near their Fleet homes.

Government inspector David Harmston has given BT Cellnet the go-ahead to site the mast at the junction of Norris Hill Road and Velmead Road.

He pointed out in a report that the mast and equipment would be situated within a highway verge close to the town's built up area.

In his view the equipment would appear as a small group of "unremarkable items of street furniture" in an area where there were already street lighting columns, a telegraph pole and various road signs.

"I do not regard the visual impact of the installation in this particular location as being unduly harmful," he continued.

Neither did he believe the slimline mast would be an eyesore as far as the nearby Basingstoke Canal conservation area was concerned.

And he had found no evidence to turn down the appeal on health grounds.

One of the objectors, Andrew Merker, said the inspector's decision made a mockery of the consultation process.

He said: "Hart Council threw out the application, but now it's been approved by a Government inspector who comes from Bristol."