More than 450 people have objected to plans for a mobile phone mast near three schools.

Telefonica O2 has submitted proposals for a 12m mast and base station on the corner of Lexden Road and Norman Way in Colchester - near to St Mary's, Colchester County High School for Girls and St Benedict's College.

As well as concerns over its proximity to the schools, other objectors have protested on the grounds of potential health risks, its size and the impact on the nearby conservation area.

Teresa Fox, teacher and governor at County High, is just one of those who have written to Colchester Council.

She said: “As a school, we are honouring the Stewart Report, which suggests a cautionary approach to siting phone masts near children until long term studies have been carried out.

“This application affects 1,800 children.”

However, despite the strength of opposition, planning officers have recommended approval of the application, which will be heard next Thursday.

A report states: “The proposed telecommunications mast is acceptable in terms of its design and appearance and would not harm local amenity.

“In this instance, the representations received do not outweigh local policy or government guidance.”

Lexden Road resident David Priest expressed his disappointment at the recommendation.

He said: “There will be no local democracy if this application is approved.”