LITTLEMORE residents are outraged at plans to put a 12.5m (40ft) mobile phone mast on a grassy area by their homes.

The mast would be the tallest free-standing structure in the community.

Vodafone and O2 have jointly applied to put the mast on land between Newman Road and Cowley Road.

If approved, the mast would provide stronger 3G coverage for modern smartphones.

Oxford City Council will make a decision on an application for planning permission next month.

Littlemore Parish Council member Dorian Hancock said: “I don’t think many people are actually aware of this application.

“It hasn’t been widely publicised and I think residents will be shocked to see a free-standing structure that tall. It will tower over the area.

“The structure is planned for green land in the middle of the village, which is a real shame, as areas like that are important. They also want to put paving stones down, which will mean we lose even more grass.”

The Eastern Avenue resident said the mast would be half as high again as the adjacent street lights.

Parish council chairman Anne Mogridge said the site was “totally the wrong place”.

She said: “When you drive into Littlemore, the green is probably the main focal point.

“We don’t want to lose that to a structure which is going to totally dominate the area.

“It’s also too close to houses.

“I would strongly urge the city council to look very closely at this application before making a final decision.”

Wilkinson Helsby Projects, which is acting for the mobile phone firms, said the mast would not look out of place among the street lights. It told the council: “There are a number of eight-metre street lights that line Cowley Road, thus the introduction of a sole vertical feature will not prove incongruous in the street scene.”

It added: “Careful consideration has been placed into finding a site that pulls the facility as far as possible away from any housing.

“The site has to be located within the residential area to give adequate coverage.”