PEOPLE are battling plans to build a third phone mast just yards from their homes in a Hampshire village.

The structure, which would be shared by Vodafone and O2, is almost right next to two other masts.

The companies say it is needed to improve reception – even though residents say they do not have problems getting a signal.

The mast would be on a verge, only yards from people’s back gardens, at the bottom of Church Hill in West End.

A planning application has been submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council for the 13.8- metre high pole with six antennas.

Sheila Bellamy, 72, a retired social services workers, of nearby Coopers Close, “It will go over the houses, we’ll all see it.

“We have done our duty, we don’t want three, particularly as it’s right on the back doorstep of people’s gardens.

“Whatever happens we’re going to keep on fighting.”

Vodafone says the mast will be hidden by trees. It adds that the Internet is important for business growth, but residents argue that the area is purely residential.

Rob Matthews, speaking on behalf of Vodafone and O2, said the phone operators have decided to share network assets wherever possible, reducing the overall number of new base station locations.

He said: “Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live work and travel.

“Base stations are low powered which only cover approximately half a mile in radius and therefore we have to put base stations close to our customers.

“We have both identified that we need to improve the 3G coverage to our customers in West End, so that they are able access high speed mobile broadband services that will allow them to use a wide range of services offered by smartphones and tablets.”

A decision will be taken at the end of this week. It will be made by planning officers rather than councillors because the next committee meeting would not be soon enough to comply with national planning laws.

A spokesman for Eastleigh Borough Council, said residents’ views would be taken into account.

He said: “The council is considering the visual impact of an additional mast and has explored the option of sharing masts.”