A PLAN to nearly double the height of a mobile phone mast in the open countryside, near the southern end of the Malvern Hills, has been thrown out by district councillors.

The application, by Vodafone, was to extend an existing 15-metre mast at Tilterdown Farm, on Sarn Hill, Bushley, to 27 metres.

The proposal is part of Vodafone’s 4G network, to bring high-speed internet access to its customers.

Malvern Hills District Council planning officers were recommending that the plan should be approved.

But at a meeting of the southern area development management committee, members decided it should be refused.

A local resident who spoke, Ted Elwes, said it reminded him of Prince Charles's comment about a carbuncle on the face of a friend.

The councillors heard that as well as the mast in the application, there were also two other mobile phone masts on the top of the same hill, within a few yards of each other.

And they asked if Vodafone could not have held talks with the council to see if the equipment could be concentrated on fewer masts.

Planning officer Duncan Rudge said that Vodafone had declined to hold pre-application discussions with the planning department.

Local ward member Bronwen Behan said she was struck how visible the existing mast was when she was driving on the B4211 at Longdon and saw the sun glinting off its metal structure.

And the committee voted 15-three, with one abstention, to refuse the plan.