CONTROVERSIAL plans to build two phone masts in Pontnewynydd were given the green light by Torfaen Council’s planning committee.

The decision comes after council officials met to discuss the plans at a site visit two weeks ago.

Residents living near the site of a 17.5m mobile phone mast on and at Wilton Factory Premises, Estate Road, Pontnewynydd, are opposed to the application made by O2 to build a telecommunications mast.

60 letters of objection were submitted from residents living in 24 properties at Hanbury Road, Merchants Hill and Elled Road and from one industrial premises in Pontypool North Industrial Estate.

Concerns raised include the impact on health, depreciation of the value of homes, visual impact and previous refusals of masts at the site.

Pontypool Community Council is also opposed.

Applicant O2 says the mast is needed to improve coverage to the O2 3G network, which provides high-speed internet access and the ability to transfer data for mobile phone users.

The council put off making a decision at a planning meeting on November 11 last year for a site inspection and following the meeting planning officers recommended the application be approved.

A motion to refuse approval due to visual impact, was put forward by Cllr Elizabeth Haynes but it was rejected by members.

A separate phone mast application was also considered at the meeting.

The application made by Vodafone is to replace an existing 12m high fork mast, 120 metres away from the proposed O2 mast, on the same road on land at Phoenix Partitioning, Pontnewydd Industrial Estate, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool.

Cllr Fred Wildgust put a motion forward to refuse this application on the grounds that the mast was to close to residents’ houses but it was also rejected by members and the application approved.