Government planning chiefs dismissed out of hand a decades-old covenant that promised the people of Berrylands that a small patch of land in Raeburn Avenue would remain untouched as a public garden – in order to allow construction of a 13m phone mast.

The mast, belonging to Vodafone, was erected this week after more than 300 residents signed a petition.

Construction was also blocked twice by Kingston Council before the communications giant appealed to ministers last March.

Planning inspector Sarah Stevens dismissed “issues relating to a restrictive covenant” – agreed between Surbiton Urban Council and former landowner Thomas and Macdonald in 1930 – in a decision in December.

She said: “Prior to the determination of the appeal the council confirmed that it was no longer contesting the appeal. Nevertheless, as the appeal has not been withdrawn it therefore remains to be determined.”

She concluded that the design would not be out of place, and would not cause safety problems or stop the use of the garden.

But Rob Harris, of Alexandra Drive, said at Tuesday’s Surbiton neighbourhood meeting: “The land is supposed to be available for people to have a green space within the area. The scale of it is absolutely ridiculous.”

The covenant, dated December 5, 1930, states the land “shall not be used otherwise for the purpose of an open space”. The land was sold to the council for £150, records show.

A planning inspectorate spokesman confirmed: “In this instance, it appears that the inspector deemed that the restrictive covenant was not a matter for this appeal.”