BATTLING Barrhead householders have scuppered plans for a 45ft tall phone mast in the heart of the town.

Mobile giants Vodafone and O2 wanted to throw up the tower slap bang in the middle of Arthurlie Avenue - until they got a bad reception from residents.

East Renfrewshire Council's planning committee threw out the bid after receiving 116 objections from homeowners, councillors and community officials.

The phone companies wanted the mast in the middle of Auchenback to boost their network signals - and profits - but the community has forced them to tone down their ideas.

Residents were incensed over the visual impact of the mobile tower. They also voiced concerns over potential health issues and said they didn't like its location next to St Mark's Primary School.

However, Vodafone and O2 said they plan to fight the decision, and that their attempts to build the mast was to improve 3G mobile coverage for customers in the area.

Townsfolk have already fought off an attempt to build a monster 66ft mast by Vodafone and 02 at Barrhead Central industrial estate on Blackbyres Road, after a huge campaign backed by local politicians.

The plan was finally overturned in April - after an eight-month fight against developers - when the site was finally sold to the Royal Bank of Scotland.

However, there is another phone mast application in the offing for a mast just off Aurs Road, which is also attracting objections from Auchenback residents and politicians.

The latest mast on Arthurlie Avenue was for a smaller base station tower to boost the mobile phone signal around Auchenback.

The plan also involved two service boxes to be placed on the ground - which was objected to by pedestrians as it would cut space on the pavements.

A spokesman for Barrhead Community Council said: "The trouble with objecting to these type of issues is that you can't do so on the grounds of the potential health issues as they haven't been proven.

"However, there is a very real visual impact on the local area and these are the grounds that we have objected to and it would appear that it has stirred considerable local felling as these things often do." A spokesperson for Vodafone and 02 said: "We have identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in the Auchenback area of Barrhead and proposed a shared base station on Arthurlie Avenue.

"The local planning authority suggested this site during pre-application discussions. We were disappointed that the local planning authority decided to refuse the application and as with all refusals, we will make a thorough review of the reasons for refusal and the potential alternatives, including appealing the site."