Church bosses are considering allowing a mobile phone company to install a mast on the building’s spire.

Members of the congregation at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Dyke Road, Brighton, received a letter informing them that the church’s management team has been approached by New Edge Telecommunications with the proposal.

However church workers insist the plans are at their very early stages and a formal consultation process has not yet begun.

Churchwarden David Nissen said: “We are at the early stages of considering this, none of it has been finalised.

“But mobile telephones are a part of modern life and they do bring considerable benefits to their many users.

“The church is not distanced from the community. It is very much a part of the community and is used for many different functions.

“We are very conscious of concerns over health and this will be rigorously looked at over the consultation period.”

Mr Nissen added that many churches in the country host mobile phone masts.

He said: “We were approached by the company as it is one of the highest points in the area.

“We are not stepping outside of our responsibilities as a church. The building is there to support the community.

“We are not here to do anything offensive, which is why we are very keen to carry out a full consultation.”

But some local residents are already unhappy with the proposals.

One resident, whose home is close to the church, said: “Health issues aside, there are a number of schools and nurseries in close proximity to the church and visual aesthetics ignored, it does seem like an odd thing for a church to consider.

“I know they are short of funds and what with dwindling attendance figures their congregation must be having to dig deeper to raise more money to maintain its upkeep, which in these hard times is especially hard.

“But a church giving itself over to a commercial enterprise, where will it end? Will your local McVicar be asking you if you want to “Go Large” with your prayers?

“Once a church decides that it’s happy to get into bed with the commercial world they have forever given away something most sacred - their position of neutrality in the modern world.”

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