Residents are angry at plans to put up a 10ft phone mast near their homes.

A total 185 letters of objection have been sent to Wealden District Council.

Paramedic Andy Moyes, of Heron Close, Ridgewood, said: "One of the major considerations when we moved here was to avoid being near a phone mast.

"I am horrified Orange wants to put a mast so close to so many houses and two primary schools, which both have under-fives provision.

"The Stewart Report advises a precautionary approach in relation to schools and residential areas when siting mobile phone masts.

"I have a real concern that the UK permits power levels 100 times higher than other European countries."

Councillors have written to Orange to ask them to consider alternative sites but say they have received no response.

Coun Julia Hey, for Newtown, said: "I am disappointed that Orange has not responded to both mine and my residents' concerns.

"I consider that there are more suitable locations away from the high population area and which will not have such a detrimental effect on the visual amenity of this sensitive site, which is the gateway to Uckfield from the South."

A spokeswoman for Orange said: "Orange has no need to put up base stations where there is no demand on the network's capacity.

"The cost of rolling out base stations is very high, both in terms of money and threat to reputation as a result of public perception about this technology."

Concerning residents' health fears, she added: "In May 2006 the World Health Organisation stated that there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects'.

"Base station policies should be based on established scientific evidence.

"Where possible, Orange tries to balance the network's technical requirements for a site with community expectations of suitable siting.

"It is not always possible to balance the two and this would appear to be such a case.

"It is therefore for the planning system to decide if the Orange planning application complies with planning guidance for telecoms development."