Worried parents are battling mobile phone giants over plans to site a mast inside a church tower near a primary school.

Governors of St Luke’s primary school, Kingston, which sits in the shadow of St Luke’s church, have formally objected to O2 and Vodafone’s application, and 90 households in Gibbon Road have signed a petition.

Louisa Collyer-Hamlin, a pregnant mother of two who lives in Gibbon Road, said: “The main concern is health and safety, especially as there’s a high proportion of school children.

“It’s totally nappy valley around here - children everywhere. The evidence is inconclusive and we are all scared.

“If the church is in need of money, perhaps we could raise money in another way.”

The church, which needs £100,000 for roof repairs, could receive £8,000 a year in rental income if its parochial church committee (PCC) approves the plans.

Father Martin Hislop said: “We can’t just simply not consider it. As the diocese advised us a number of other churches have them, we thought the responsible thing to do was to have a public hearing.”

He said he had only received two letters about the proposal so far, one in favour and one against, and was looking forward to hearing the views of more parishioners and residents.

A survey by residents’ association Brag claimed 85 per cent of residents opposed the application.

The phone companies held an information evening for residents on Wednesday, October 5.

A Vodafone spokesman said: “We make sure all our radio base stations are designed to comply with international guidelines.

“Those guidelines are there to protect the public wherever they are in relation to a mast, whether it’s a metre or a mile away.

“If we don’t locate our masts in built-up residential areas it simply means mobile devices won’t work in those areas. They have to be close to where people live, work and travel.”

The closing date for written representations is Tuesday, October 25, and the PCC is due to meet on Tuesday, November 8.