SHOP owners in a York village have reacted angrily after being told Vodafone plans to put a mobile phone mast less than ten metres from their front doors.

Joanne Smith, 39, and her brother, Richard Boddy, 27, who run the Londis shop in Haxby, received a letter informing them the mobile phone operator wanted to install a ten-metre tall mast in Oak Tree Lane.

Joanne said she had health concerns about phone masts. She said: “It’ll bring down property prices – and they’re ugly.”

She said the proposed mast site was only eight metres away from the shop and less than 200 metres from Headlands Primary School.

Jodie Kane, of Tyco Electronics on behalf of Vodafone, said in the letter there was an “urgent need to address the present coverage deficits being experienced within this cell area”.

She said: “While we appreciate the proposed development site is located within a dense residential area, due to the very specific and localised coverage deficit that Vodafone are experiencing, this cannot be avoided.”

A spokesman for the telecoms giant said the proposed radio base station was required to improve 3G coverage to its customers in the area.

He said: “This location was chosen as it provides a backdrop of street furniture, against which the proposed street pole will not be visually intrusive.

“As part of our pre-application consultation strategy, we have written to the local planning authority and ward councillors. We will not submit the application until this consultation has been completed.”

Coun Chris Hogg, who represents Haxby ward on City of York Council, said he thought there were better locations for the proposed mast. “I think – and I hope – there will be quite an outcry,” he said. “I’m not convinced that these masts are safe and the shop is a congregation place for children and others. There are masts in the village and I’m not very happy about those, but to put it in the middle of a community like this might not only be a health risk, but also an eyesore.”

But the Vodafone spokesman said: “We recognise that some communities are concerned regarding the deployment of radio base stations.

“All of our base stations are designed, built and operated in accordance with stringent international guidelines laid down by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.”