BARRHEAD residents have won a battle to prevent a giant mobile phone mast being built outside their homes.

Protestors claimed the 20-metre-high structure on the Fereneze Braes, near Boylestone Road, would be a "blot on the landscape" and a threat to the area's natural wildlife.

It was to be in the style of a cypress tree, surrounded by a 2.4m-high mesh fence.

In January, East Renfrewshire Council rejected the proposals by Reading-based MBNL, which specialises in mobile phone infrastructure.

However, MBNL then lodged an appeal with the Scottish Reporter – an arm of the Scottish Government – as it claimed the mast would provide a modern 5G service and improved connectivity for Barrhead.

Alison Kirkwood was appointed to consider the appeal and has now ruled against MBNL.

She said: "Based on the evidence before me, I consider that the proposal would have a significant adverse landscape and visual impact on the greenbelt and on the visual amenity of the local area.

"It would also potentially have adverse biodiversity effects."

Ms Kirkwood said MBNL had discounted six alternative locations for the proposed mast and failed to provide an ecological assessment.

She added: "I have insufficient evidence before me to conclude that there are no other suitable sites.

"I do not consider that the connectivity benefits of the proposed development would outweigh its negative impacts.

"I have considered all other relevant matters raised in submissions but find there are none which would lead me to alter my conclusions.

"I therefore refuse to give approval for the siting and appearance of the proposal."

The decision has been welcomed by local resident Kirsty Menzies, who formed the Fereneze and Boylestone For Nature campaign group to protest against the proposed mast, which would have been erected near a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

She said: "We are delighted that common sense has prevailed."

MBNL did not respond to a request for comment.