PLANNING officers have backed plans for a 60ft phone mast near a new housing estate in Halesowen despite objections from residents.

Fifteen letters have been sent to Dudley Council urging refusal of the plan for a mast in Banners Lane for 2G and 3G mobile providers.

Objectors fear it will be an eyesore, is too close to houses and could cause property values to fall.

They also say that there are already two masts at the site and fear a potential health risk.

In a report to Monday’s development control committee, officers admit the visual impact of the mast would be “fairly significant,” particularly with views from the new housing development immediately to the north.

But they conclude that the impact would be no greater than that of the existing two masts.

Also, under national guidelines planning authorities should not reconsider health matters when, as in this case, applicants have self-certified that the base station conforms to the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation guidelines.