Campaigners have responded angrily to being told a new mobile phone mast can be installed next to a park without planning permission.

David Lothian, who has spearheaded a series of protests against masts being installed in the Patcham area of Brighton, said he was furious at Brighton and Hove City Council's claim.

A council report published this week said a planning application from Telefonica O2 should be granted because the proposed 12m mast next to Patcham Recreation Ground, alongside Old London Road, Brighton, did not require prior consent.

Mr Lothian, who has become an amateur expert on the subject during a decade of battling new masts, said the council was wrong and demanded it should have a rethink.

Mr Lothian said: "They do need to have prior approval under the terms of the Telecommunications Code. The planning department have totally messed this up.

"This mast would have a massive impact on people's lives, not least on the saleability of property in the area."

Brighton and Hove City Council yesterday stood by the analysis of its planning department.

A council spokesman said: "We don’t know what residents mean about it requiring permission under any other legislation. We’ve dealt with all the legislation relevant to councils.

"A planning committee will be aware that if it refuses something without planning justification the applicant can appeal, and refusals in the city have been overturned by the government in the past."

In an unusual process, the application is still due to be debated by the council's planning committee next Wednesday, January 13, despite the recommendation that it did not require consent.