PEOPLE living near a mobile telephone mast have asked Darlington Borough Council to move it away from their homes.

The T-Mobile mast was erected at Broken Scar Treatment Works, in Coniscliffe Road, Darlington, in 1996.

Now an application has been received by the local authority to add four microwave dishes and three antennae to the mast.

People living in the area have claimed the extension to the mast would make it an eyesore and could pose a health risk to them.

They have called for further research into the dangers posed by mobile phone masts, especially as it is close to Hummersknott School and Language College.

In letters to the council they have suggested the water works is decommissioned and the mast moved to a non-residential area. But in a report to the council's planning department, which meets tomorrow, officer David Coates said that the mast meets all national guidelines on possible harmful emissions.

He also said trees around the base of the mast provide good coverage so it is not easily seen by people in the area.

He said: "It is considered that the additional equipment to be placed on the mast, which will facilitate mast sharing, is by some way to preferred option to the alternative of erecting a separate structure in the locality."

Yesterday, a council spokesman said officials did not have the authority to move an existing telephone mast and could not judge applications on health issues.

The application is recommended for approval.