A CONTROVERSIAL mobile phone mast looks set to get the go-ahead in Haxby, despite more than 250 people objecting to the plans.

Vodafone wants to put the 40-foot (12.2 metres) mast in Oak Tree Lane, to improve its coverage for central and southern Haxby. It says the site chosen is the best available and says that if the mast were any lower, mobile phone users would get a worse signal.

But 233 residents have signed a petition saying they do not want the mast in their area and a further 23 individual objection letters have also been received.

Objections include claims that the mast will be visually intrusive, that it will reduce house prices in the area, that other phone companies may follow suit, and that if the mast is needed in Haxby, it should be placed in an area with fewer people nearby.

Vodafone was also accused of a lack of consultation, while Hemplands Primary School also objected to the plans.

Head teacher Chris Pearce said the school “vehemently” opposed the plans until further research was done into any health impact of such masts.

He said: “My paramount concern is that of the health implications for both children and colleagues alike. I fail to see how any council, acting with the best interests of the local community, can pass a planning application for the proposed telecommunications mast.”

Tony Smith, of the nearby Londis store, said: “I think it’s in totally the wrong position.”

He said the mast and base would reduce pavement space, creating a further safety risk.

A City of York Council planning committee will decide the application next Thursday, and has been advised to allow the mast to be built.

In a report to the committee, council planning official Matthew Parkinson says the site has been given a “red” rating, the lowest of three in the traffic light model used by system operators.

But he said that while the pole would be ten feet higher than nearby buildings and while it would be close to residential properties, it would not be “overly oppressive or overbearing” when viewed from nearby homes.

Mr Parkinson said many of the objectors’ concerns were not matters that could be considered by the committee. He said the council must decide the application on the basis of its location and appearance, and said the application would not harm the area visually.

Haxby Parish Council said it “sympathised” with residents, but did not object to the application.

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

He added: “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.”