Neighbours who objected to a bid to build a phone mast on a protected public garden have won a small victory.

Mobile phone operators Vodaphone wanted to build an 11.8m phone poll in the Berrylands Triangle, in Raeburn Avenue, Surbiton, but had planning permission turned down by Kingston Council last week.

Residents argued the application was on part of land sold for £150 more than 80 years ago and protected by a covenant dating back to 1930.

But the council said they refused the proposed application because it was “visually intrusive” and would have a “detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area”.

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”.

A spokeswoman for Vodaphone UK said they were “reviewing their option” following the council’s decision and did not rule out submitting a revised application on the site.

Resident Peter Bell said he was glad the application was turned down but insisted the proposed site was part of the communal gardens.

He said: “It would have affected the shops; the park would have become desolate because no one would have wanted to go there.

“It would have been terrible to have a great hulking thing in the middle of the beautiful trees.

“The council can say what they want about the site of the mast, but I know that it was in the gardens.”