THE sudden appearance of a mobile phone mast on an Oxford street has prompted anger and a call for the review of all masts in the city.

Builders started work on the O2/Vodafone mast near the Peugeot garage in Iffley Road last week. It gained planning permission in February, but residents said they had no idea it was going to be built and raised fears about potential health issues.

They want Oxford City Council to review the proliferation of masts in the city.

Ivana Nixon, of Henley Avenue, said she was horrified when the mast was put up.

She added: “I didn't know it was going up so they could show up anywhere.”

Residents said they are not against masts but are concerned about the numbers and prominent locations of them.

Carol Richards, of Iffley, said: “We would like to see Oxford City Council review the number of masts in the city. There are so many in residential areas.”

Rev Gian Sahotra, of Iffley, said: “We have reception here anyway without this (mast).”

City councillor for Iffley Fields David Williams said: “A lot of people have been contacting me about this. We now have 45 mobile phone masts in the one mile square at the centre of Oxford.

“The cumulative effect of this is extremely dangerous for those who live and work here.”

In 2006, Iffley residents stopped T-Mobile from building a mast on the Chester Arms in Chester Street.

More than 50 residents living near the pub took to the streets in a bid to get the plans rejected.

Mr Williams said: “Quite a number of European countries have banned masts from urban centres, but our country seems to be in the grip of big companies. Our power cables are built away from housing and I think mobile phone masts should be too.”

Spokesman for the phone companies Rob Matthews said: “Vodafone and O2 have decided that we will share network assets wherever we can, which will reduce the overall number of new base station locations.

“Our customers expect to be able to use their mobiles and devices where they live, work and travel.”

He said the need for more masts was due to increased demand for mobile broadband. The Iffley Road site gained planning permission in February and councillors had not objected.