Mobile phone giants Vodafone and O2 have angered residents in north Kingston by digging a test hole for a new phone mast before planning permission has been granted.

The two phone companies applied to Kingston Council to install the mast at the junction of Tudor Drive and Park Road earlier this month, but are still awaiting approval.

Families living close to the proposed mast have set up an opposition group, Say no to Pole, while a consultation on the proposal does not close until March 6.

Mother-of-two Emma Holliday, of Park Road, said: “It is intimidating and offensive that they have dug a hole in front of us during the consultation. We are trying to fight against it happening, so there is a sense of injustice.”

Councillor David Cunningham, lead member for environment and transport, said: “We have been told that the excavation of a trial hole is not work requiring planning permission.

“We are unhappy at the presumption of the company, in carrying out the trial hole when the planning application had not been determined and even before the statutory consultation period ended.”

The hole, which was dug up last weekend, has since been filled.

A spoksewoman for the two companies said: “Base stations are low-powered devices that cover approximately half a mile in radius, therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“We have identified that we need to improve the coverage to our customers in Kingston and have proposed a new base station.

“We have undertaken a test dig to establish the location of any underground services.”

A new neighbourhood forum for Canbury and Tudor wards has been set up to deal with new developments and policies in the area. Email andree_frieze@