A protected public garden sold to the council for £150 more than 80 years ago is now at the centre of a row over a mobile phone mast.

Developers Thomas and Macdonald sold the Berrylands Triangle to Surbiton Urban Council in 1930 on the condition it looked after it and kept it as a garden.

The document, dated December 5, 1930, states the land “shall not be used otherwise for the purpose of an open space”.

Vodafone have now submitted a planning application for the ‘Triangle in Raeburn Avenue, Berrylands’ for an 11.8m phone poll.

The council argues the telecommunications equipment cabinet and electrical mains pillar will be built on publicly maintained highway next to the Triangle and would not be breaking the agreement.

However, residents argue the application is on part of the land that is protected.

Peter Bell said: “If it is not considered the Triangle why then on a council document is it described as the Triangle, it could not be any clearer really.

“I live opposite and I can tell you the area Vodafone is already marking out is most certainly what I, as a lifelong resident of the area, would consider the Triangle.

“I think it is being a bit artful, charge the phone company a fortune for the mast and make loads of money.

“[The mast] would tower above the trees and ruin our shopping parade.

“The builders were obviously keen to make sure the people who bought the houses and lived in the area where happy and to make sure the council adhered to the stipulations, which makes this attempt to slip this new development past residents even more shameful.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “The land proposed for the phone mast is designated as publicly maintained highway land, not on the the Triangle, which is next to the location and subject to a restrictive covenant to retain as public open space.

“Utility companies, which includes phone companies, have a statutory right to install equipment on publicly adopted highway, therefore are a planning and highway matter.”