Sir – I write to draw the attention of your readership to a current planning application. An 11-metre-high mobile phone mast is planned on the traffic island at the north end of St Giles, immediately in front of the war memorial.

This streetscape is of high architectural significance, ranking with the High Street and Broad Street as an essential part of the internationally important urban environment of central Oxford.

The greatest care was accordingly taken some years ago over the design of the lighting columns. Even so, the environment is already threatened by ugly signage, and additions to the street furniture must be rejected if at all possible.

Since the quality of the street lies in the elevations of the neighbouring buildings, unnecessary poles are especially to be avoided. The current application inserts a very high pole in an especially sensitive part of the street, with a major impact on the famous view of St Giles’ church and the war memorial, and clutters the traffic island with an unsightly box. These factors alone render the application unacceptable, but the design of the mast itself is particularly ugly, involving not only the pole, but a flat, flange-like superstructure of considerable size which is far more visible than the ‘streetpole’ in the name of which the planning application has, disingenuously, been made. This intrusion into the historic townscape would be brutally insensitive.

I hope that many representations against this very undesirable structure are being made, and urge your readers to view the proposal for themselves on the city council's website and make use of their right to object before February 7. The reference is 11/00062/FLT.

Nicholas Purcell, Oxford