PROTESTERS braved a heavy downpour outside Blaenau Gwent council’s planning offices today to oppose plans to build a mobile phone mast 70 metres from a Six Bells primary school.

Around 40 protesters gathered displaying “anti-phone mast” placards outside the offices in Blaina High Street for 30 minutes.

The council’s planning officers were due to meet representatives from Vodaphone to ask them to consider citing the mast further away from Bryngwyn Primary School.

However, the meeting had to be cancelled due to the illness of the council’s head of planning in public protection sector Steve Smith.

The council granted planning permission for the ten-metre high mast on September 15.

However, due to the number of objections received, the council began discussions with Vodaphone to consider citing the mast further away from the school.

Members of Six Bells Against the Mast action group say they are worried about the safety of their children and are concerned about the effect the mast could have on their children’s health.

The council’s planning committee said it was unable to refuse planning permission on the grounds of health concerns, due to government planning guidance.

Speaking during yesterday’s protest, the chairman of Six Bells Against the Mast action group, Nigel Bard, said: “Even though the meeting was called off many of us have still come out here to protest in the wind and rain.

“The strength of feeling in the Six Bells community against the plans is overwhelming.

“You can be sure when the meeting does finally take place, we will be here in far greater numbers and there will be a great outpouring of emotion.”

A spokesman for Blaenau Gwent council said: “Vodaphone had agreed to a meeting.

“Unfortunately because of illness this had to be postponed three days before it was due to be held.

“We have been in touch with Vodaphone but it is not possible to make any new arrangements yet.”