A PHONE mast has been granted planning permission despite a pensioner's claim that the land it will be built on belongs to her.

Hilda Forsyth, 76, says she has deeds proving the verge of grass outside her home on Picker-sleigh Road, Malvern, is legally hers.

But mobile phone giant Hutchinson 3G insists the area is highways land, owned by the local authority, and that they have a right to build a 40ft mast on it.

Mrs Forsyth said: "The deeds show that, although the council maintain the land, the sub-soil is mine and therefore no construction can be carried out."

She added that she had told Hutchinson 3G, the council and planners that she owned the land, so was surprised to discover that work would be going ahead.

She said: "By rights they should pay me if they want to put up a mast. But it's not a matter of money, because I'm completely against the whole of idea of it."

Mrs Forsyth joined angry neighbours in February to protest about plans by Hutchinson 3G to erect the mast on their street.

Their complaint centred on the visual impact of the mast and on concerns about possible harmful effects of radiation.

Following fierce opposition from local residents, planning permission was refused for the structure, but after a successful appeal by Hutchinson 3G, the mast was given the go-ahead.

Mike Davies, corporate affairs manager for Hutchinson 3G, explained that the appropriate checks were taken during the planning permission process.

He said: "We do a land search before we submit an application and this would have shown that the land was under local authority ownership.

"If it is highways land, we have valid planning consent. If there's a dispute we would have to wait and get some clarity on the issue.

"This issue needs to be determined between Mrs Forsyth and her local authority."