BURY North MP David Nuttall is demanding that controversial proposals for a 12.5 metre mobile phone mast in Ainsworth Road undergo the full rigorous planning process.

He has spoken out after being approached by angry residents of Bidston Close who are worried about the impact the base station will have on their homes and their children’s health.

They say their street is immediately next to the potential site of the mast.

On behalf of telecom giants O2 and Vodafone, Mono Consultants have circulated letters to homes as part of a pre-planning application consultation.

Part of the correspondence reads: “In order to give you time to send your comments or request further information, we commit to allow at least 14 days before an application is submitted to the local planning authority.” That 14-day period expires today.

Mr Nuttall and residents are worried that any subsequent application lodged could be dealt with by Bury Council under delegated powers without it being deliberated by the planning control committee (PCC).

Only mobile phone masts more than 15 metres require full planning permission and have an eight-week determination period. The application would go to the committee if there were objections on planning grounds.

Mr Nuttall stressed: “My view is these matters should be dealt with by the full planning committee and not under delegated responsibility to an officer. Residents are worried about the health risks of these masts and some believe them to be extremely dangerous.”

Bidston Close resident Mrs Nicola Condron, who has a four-year-old daughter, said: “This is a family street with 15 children within feet of this proposed huge mast. As parents, we are distressed that the health of our children is held in so little regard.”

Neighbour Mr Paul Garbett commented: “We have a three-year-old daughter and there are many other children living and playing extremely close to the site. We are anxious regarding the fact that the risks seem to be unproven and we are fearful that living near to this site could have health implications.”

Disclosing 13 letters of objection had been received so far, a Vodafone and O2 spokesman said: “We take the results of the consultation process seriously and suggestions during the pre-application consultation can lead to modifications to the proposal submitted to the local planning authority.”

Stressing such base stations had to comply with stringent international guidelines, the spokesman added: “Typical public exposures from our base stations will be many hundreds, if not thousands, of times below these guidelines.”