CONTROVERSIAL plans for two mobile phone masts, both close to York primary schools, have been filed with the city council.

Mobile phone firm O2 wants to install a communications mast on the roof of the King William pub, in Barkston Avenue, Chapelfields.

Governors at nearby Westfield Primary Community School have already criticised the telecommunications giant for failing to consider the wellbeing of youngsters.

In addition, Vodafone wants to place a 12-metre mast to the rear of White Cross Court Rehabilitation Unit, in White Cross Road. The site is near to Haxby Road Primary School.

Both masts would be within 300 yards of the respective schools.

Governors at Westfield have vowed to continue their protest against the proposed mast, with which O2 wants to replace an existing flagpole attached to the King William pub.

Residents say they are concerned about associated health risks for pupils from the mast and have united to protest against the global telecommunications company’s planning application.

City of York Council leader Andrew Waller, who is a governor at the school, said he has objected to the mast on behalf of the school body.

He said: “As a councillor and a governor of Westfield Primary School, I have been asked by the other governors to oppose this proposal.

“While there have been a number of studies into the effects of mobile phone masts, and the Stewart Report, the public has yet to be convinced.

“It is clear that fellow governors of Westfield are concerned about the possible health risks and so l have made the objections clear to O2.”

In 2002, residents successfully blocked an application from Orange to build a 20-metre mobile phone mast at Broad Lane, which is a similar distance from the school to the latest proposal.

Rosie Wall, who used to run Chapelfields Residents’ Association, said feelings in the community remained the same about the phone masts.

“A mobile phone mast was not appropriate to be built near a school then and it is not now,” she said.

O2 said it needed the mast to provide 3G coverage to Chapelfields and Acomb.

A spokesman for the phone operator said: “O2 takes advice from UK and international bodies such as the Health Protection Agency.

“Working with their guidelines, there is no substantiated scientific evidence that mobile phone stations pose a threat to health.”

Coun Ken King, who represents the Clifton ward in which Haxby Road Primary School stands, said he had not received any complaints from the school or residents.

But he said he would have lobbied to have a mast put elsewhere if constituents had contacted him.