Jubilant campaigners are celebrating this week after a planning application to put six mobile phone masts in a Shirley church's belltower was unanimously rejected.

Croydon Council's planning committee was due to approve the application for All Saints Church in Bridle Road at a meeting last Thursday, November 30.

However, councillors unanimously rejected the application, which was submitted by Vodafone, following wide-spread outcry from residents.

Two coaches carrying almost 100 campaigners from the Spring Park Residents' Association (SPRA) descended on the town hall to stage a protest vigil' ahead of the meeting.

It was also revealed that more than 600 letters opposing the application were sent to the town hall.

Marzia Nicodemi-Ehikioya, SPRA secretary, said: "Obviously we are delighted the committee rejected it unanimously. We're pleased that people have listened to us.

"We believed the council should adopt the precautionary principle in such matters and turn down the application. While there is no firm evidence mobile phone masts are harmful, neither is there any certainty they are safe.

"Therefore, siting six masts only a few metres from peoples' homes cannot be considered good sense."

Vodafone is believed to have approached All Saints Church to ask if it would agree to having the masts in its belfry.

It is thought the cash-strapped church, which desperately needs money to carry out repair works, agreed because it did not believe the health risks were substantial.

However, the church's decision is said to have angered some parishioners as well as residents.

Resident Karl Williams added: "The church's desperation for money is no reason to inflict such a potentially damaging scheme on local people. It just seems hard cash comes before public health as far as All Saints is concerned."