People in Bushey are angry that an application for a telephone mast has been approved despite objections.

Bushey Heath councillor Brenda Batten said she is "extremely disappointed" at the way Hertsmere Borough Council have handled this application, which had more than 40 signatures on a petition.

PHA Communications, a telecommunications contractor, submitted plans in January to install a 15 metre pole with antennas and four equipment cabinets beside it in Little Bushey Lane.

Elizabeth Tomlins, who owns the house opposite the proposed site, spearheaded a campaign, petitioning against the proposed location.

She told the Watford Observer at the time: "We are not against the telephone mast being put up in this area, as we could do with better signal.

"But it will be a bulky thing sticking out on the road and not something that us residents want to see out of our window. There is plenty of room further down the road, where it will not be as obtrusive."

Last month, Ms Tomlins was one of the residents, who received a letter from the council stating that the application would go ahead as 'prior approval' was not required.

According to the council's policy, applications for telecommunications mast do not follow the same procedure as other planning applications and are subject to prior approval.

This means that as long as the mast is 15 metres tall or under, it is automatically permitted. The planning officers can only consider the siting or appearance of the mast and reject it if it would detract from a local heritage asset, at a prominent junction, or if it obstructs the footpath.

Ms Tomlins said: "As far as we knew was that the issues raised in our petition were being considered and it was likely to be refused. It was a bit of shock to suddenly find out that it wasn't and we are a bit confused as to why and how this has happened.

"The mast and the other boxes there would just look hideous and very obtrusive. It is also something that none of us living opposite want to see out of our window."

Councillor Batten said: "I think the mast could be in a better place in Little Bushey Lane. The boxes are an eyesore and the way this decision was made was very hasty."

She added that her and councillor Paul Morris are currently working looking into why there was so much confusion regarding the procedure of this application.

They both said that they were under the impression that the application was likely to be refused by the planning officers.

Spokesperson for the council, Cath Shepherd, said: "The ‘prior approvals’ process and permitted development rights are directed by Government legislation.

"We send out consultation letters to keep members of the public informed. Whilst no objection can be raised to the principle of the development, we can consider comments about siting and appearance.

"We will update our consultation letters for prior approval applications to make it clearer what the points of consideration are and to outline the process better.

"Comments were received, however given that the principle of a 15-metre tall structure must be accepted, there was insufficient justification for us to reject the application for prior approval."