RESIDENTS are battling to stop “an eyesore” from being put at the heart of a fishing village.

Arqiva, which has been appointed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to develop smart meter infrastructure in the north of England, has applied to the North York Moors National Park Authority for consent to site the 18m-high communications apparatus in Robin Hood’s Bay.

The firm said the mast was needed for the Government’s project to develop a nationwide smart metering network.

In documents submitted to the authority’s planners, the operator said the smart meter mast needed to be sited somewhere with good fibre connectivity, with an existing power supply and somewhere than would not cause “undue environmental disturbance”. It said there were better than the village’s BT exchange, off Thorpe Lane, and that “all reasonable steps have been taken to minimise any perceived visual and environmental impact”.

The documents state: “There is no unacceptable adverse visual impact upon the character of the locality and the wider landscape. The siting of the installation makes use of the least environmentally intrusive option available.”

Villagers said while they accepted the need for mast in the area, it would harm the village character.

Fylingdales Parish Council chairperson Cllr Jane Mortimer said the firm’s original plan to put a smaller mast on high ground to the north of the village would have been much better than siting it next to the village hall.

She said: “It will be an eyesore. It is far too large and will be seen from anywhere. I know they have to find somewhere for it, but this is far too close to local residents.”