A COUNCILLOR has hit out at the decision to approve a mobile phone mast near a Darlington school.

Mobile phone giant Orange had sought approval from the borough council to erect the 15m mast in Staindrop Road, near The Mowden pub.

And, despite concerns about the mast's proximity to Cockerton Primary School, the authority backed the scheme under delegated powers last week.

Councillor Bill Stenson, who represents Mowden ward and is a school governor, said: "I think it's wrong that a decision like that should be taken under delegated powers without going to the planning committee. When there are objections to these kinds of things, they should be going to the committee."

However, a spokesman said: "Provided the Stewart Report guidelines on health and safety are met, the local authority does not have the power to question the application."