A COUNCILLOR claims a communications company has chosen the worst possible place to site a mobile phone mast in Darlington.

Councillor Tom Nutt, ward member for Haughton North, will speak out against O2's application to erect a 15 metre mast and antennae in Whinbush Way at a planning meeting on Wednesday.

The company, which has permission to put up a 12.5 metre mast, is asking whether it needs prior approval for an upgraded mast.

Coun Nutt says residents have serious concerns about the closeness of the mast to Whinfield Primary School, Haughton Community School, an old people's home and Asda supermarket.

"The concern is on health grounds," he said. "O2 says that there isn't a health risk but we don't think that's ever been proven. All of the kids will have to walk under that mast and there is going to be a new pelican crossing there.

"I think there's a feeling against it in the community. If we have got to have it, does it have to be there? Where they are proposing to put it is the worst possible place."

Darlington Borough Council has received 20 objections.

But a report from planning officers said: "Given the nature of the works, their limited impact on the appearance of the locality and guidance issued on health-related matters, the application for prior approval should not be refused."

An O2 spokesman said: "We would like to assure people it won't pose any harmful effects to their health at all. It is extremely low-powered."