Residents are continuing their fight to get a mast removed from the heart of a residential area in Brighton.

The mast was put up in Westdene by a mobile phone company more than a year ago when objections failed to be lodged before the deadline for responses.

But Westdene residents who say they are worried about potential health risks from the 8m mast are refusing to give up their fight to have it removed.

They have collected names on a petition, which they plan to present to Brighton and Hove City Council chief executive David Panter.

They also plan to send a copy to Brighton Pavilion Labour MP David Lepper and city councillors.

The mast was constructed by phone giant Orange on a piece of land between Fairview Rise and Redhill Drive.

Residents say it took them by surprise when workmen arrived with a crane to put up the structure, which Orange says is designed to blend in with other "street furniture".

When the mast was erected, masts under 15m did not require planning permission.

However, telecoms operators were required to notify the planning authority and allow it a period to comment on the proposed siting.

A spokesman for the city council said the authority had received objections and added: "We worked very hard to process all of them on time. In this case, our response was the site was inappropriate for a phone mast.

"Unfortunately, the phone company didn't receive our comments until a few days after the response deadline.

"We very much regret this, just as we very much regret the phone company's unwillingness to take the response we did give them into account."

Campaigner Mike Winter said: "What really upset us is that Orange put one A4 bit of paper up on a traffic island where no one would go.

"We are very angry the council missed the 42-day deadline too.

"Although people say the masts are safe, there are very real concerns about the health risks."

A spokeswoman for Orange said: "Under UK planning regulations at the time, the council had 42 days to notify Orange of its decision.

"But Orange failed to receive notification of the authority's decision within the time limit.

"Orange acknowledges public concern regarding the siting of transmitters.

"However, there is no conclusive evidence to link transmitter masts and long-term health risks."

The council has no powers to reject applications for masts on health grounds.