WORRIED residents fear their health will be at risk if plans for an upgraded mobile phone mast are given the goahead.

Plans to improve the 15m-high O2 mast in Green’s Lane, Hartburn, near Ian Ramsey School, go before Stockton Borough Council planning committee next week.

Vodafone is hoping to win approval for alterations to allow it to add to the mast.

But an action group set up by residents in Hartburn is concerned about health risks.

Vodafone already has a mast 200m away and residents believe there is no need for a second mast so close by.

Parent Jayne Patworth, who lives near the mast, said everyone was worried about the plans.

“At first, we were told it would be decided behind closed doors, but now it will go to committee,” she said.

“Even so, we don’t really know what will happen.

“We are all really worried about the health effects these masts have. We really want to get rid of all the masts around here, but first we have to stop this one.”

Campaigners say more than 400 people have submitted objections against Vodafone’s application.

Mrs Patworth, who does not own a mobile phone, said: “The main issue is health, but there is also the view from people’s windows as it is really close to some homes.

“We also have evidence to suggest it will devalue our homes. This is a relatively popular area and we really don’t need this.

“We are worried about everyone, but we need to protect our children.

We don’t want them anywhere near it.”

She added: “There is a lot of opposition to this and hopefully we can be successful and stop the application, although we know there is a high chance it will still be approved.

“We hope we are going to be able to speak at the meeting and tell them about our concerns.”

A spokesman for the Cornerstone Team, the agent acting on behalf of Vodafone and O2, said: “We do understand that some people are concerned about the potential health effects of mobile phone technology, and we are committed to addressing those concerns in an open and transparent manner.

“There have been more than 450 research studies into the safety of mobile phone technology and the scientific consensus is that mobile phone technology does not pose a risk to human health.”

The planning committee meets in the lecture theatre in Stockton central library at 1.30pm on Wednesday.