Friday 14th November 2008
By Andy Walker »
CONTROVERSIAL plans for a wind farm in a rural beauty spot appear doomed after they were thrown out by a second local authority.
Broadview Energy Developments had hoped to build five 125m wind turbines, between Hilton and Seamer, close to Yarm, near Stockton.
At a meeting yesterday, the development management committee of Hambleton District Council refused permission for two of the planned towers.
Stockton Borough Council last month rejected the other three turbines in the development, which would straddle the two district boundaries.
The district council’s planning officers had recommended the application be given planning permission.
Members of the planning committee visited the site of the proposed development last week.
More than 320 letters of objection were received and Seamer and Hilton Wind Action Group (Shwag) was formed to fight the plans.
Shwag members won the support of local MPs William Hague and Dari Taylor, as well as Euro MPs and environmentalist Dr David Bellamy.
Jeffrey Corrigan, managing director of Broadview, said the company would consider its position before deciding whether to appeal.
A packed public gallery at Northallerton Civic Centre heard that objectors’ concerns centred on the potential impact on residents and the effect of the turbines on the surrounding landscape, including Roseberry Topping and the North York Moors.
As well as representations from Shwag and Broadview, the committee also heard from a Friends of the Earth co-ordinator, who expressed support for the development.
After a lengthy debate, members voted eight to three in favour of refusal.
After the decision, a Shwag spokesman said: “My immediate reaction is that this is the correct result. I am sure it will go to appeal – and we will be ready if it does.”
Mr Corrigan said: “We are extremely disappointed by the committee’s decision.
We worked closely with the district council and other organisations to ensure we have a proposal that fitted in with the Government’s energy targets and, more importantly, is suitable to the immediate landscape.
“We did not consider this development lightly and still feel it is a prime site for a small wind farm.”
Councillor Bryn Griffiths, district council member for Stokesley, the relevant Hambleton ward, voted against the plan.
He said: “I am very pleased that the planning committee has listened to the views of local residents.
I am in favour of renewable energy, but this was the wrong development at the wrong site.”