Determined residents campaigning against the building of a mobile phone mast near their homes hope to scupper the scheme with a planning application of their own.

Controversial plans by T-Mobile to build an 8.5 metre mast on a thin strip of land in Berry Lane were approved on appeal in December 2007.

Many residents, however, fear the potential health impacts of the mast – an edifice which will stand just yards from their front doors and around 150 metres from nearby Arnett Hills School.

A determined campaign group, however, have applied to have the thin 200 yard strip of land designated a Village Green – a title that would protect it from development in perpetuity.

If built in the interim the mast would have to be torn down should Hertfordshire County Council rule in favour of the residents.

June Raitt, who organised the application, said: “They want to build the mast right outside my house. It would beam straight into my bedroom.

“I take a great deal of pride in my property and do not want this outside. A lot of us are worried about the health risks.”

The application is the latest tactic in a long line of determined resistance by residents – one of whom chained herself to a tree in protest some 12 months ago.

As the law stands, any land not registered by August 1, 1970, ceased to be a village green.

It is, however, possible that unregistered land can become a green if a significant number of local people testify to undertaking “lawful sports and pastimes” over a period of 20 years or more.

Once granted it is virtually impossible (although not beyond the bounds of legal argument) to develop affected land.

The application, funded by community donations and other fundraising events, is likely to be decided at a public inquiry – either this year or next.

The application is just one of a growing number of village green applications nationwide – applications frequently used to fend off unwanted developments.

Mrs Raitt and her supporters hope to mirror the success enjoyed by the Keep Croxley Green Pressure Group, which in October 2007 won a three year battle to prevent the building of a London Underground depot and secure in its place a village green.

The determined pensioner added: “It is important that we preserve this land for the community to enjoy. Making it a village green would benefit everybody.”

Councillor Les Mead also leant his support to the application, saying: “I wish them lock with it. They are fantastically well organised and have shown what people power can achieve.”