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Storm of controversy over turbine plan

A plan to harness wind power on a Wolds hillside has blown up a storm of controversy.

People living in the valleys beneath Flintwood Farm, Belchford, where the proposed micro-turbines would help power eco-lodges for holidaymakers, say the siting is ‘thoughtless’.

They fear the turbines will ruin their part of the Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – a designation that should afford special protection.

Andrew Tuxworth, who has applied for planning permission for two micro-turbines with masts nine metres high and blades with a 5.5 metre diameter, says residents are mistaken.

“From Belchford the most they will see is one metre of blade turning above the cattle shed,” Mr Tuxworth said.

“I want to make them as least invasive as possible and they will be sited below the top of the hill. They are not going to affect me and I live 30 metres away.”

Since a public meeting to discuss the proposal, a number of people living in the area as well as Belchford and Fulletby Parish Council and Scamblesby Parish Council and the county council footpaths officer have lodged objections with East Lindsey District Council.

One resident, Jill Newby, said she and many of her Belchford neighbours believed there seemed to be an unfair advantage for any scheme labelled ‘eco-friendly’.

“It seems to us that if you put the words ‘eco’, ‘sustainable’, ‘recyclable’, or ‘for the community’ in front of a planning application they are immediately passed.

“All applications that possess those words are not good or desirable.”

Coun Richard Black, chairman of Belchford and Fulletby Parish Council, said he had not heard of any villagers supporting the turbines plan.

“The parish council is concerned if permission is given for these turbines on a prominent hillside it will set a precedent,” Coun Black said.

“The parish council also objected to the eco-lodges, which will be intrusive in the open countryside and form a very large complex on a dominant hillside.

“The turbines will be extremely visible from many areas including Fulletby, Scamblesby and along the Bluestone Heath Road as well as from Belchford.”

However, Mr Tuxworth, whose existing holiday cottages have won a David Bellamy Environmental Award, said the micro-turbines would be similar to the ones at Red Hill, overlooking Goulceby, where he believed they caused no concern to residents.

“There seems to have been a lot of scare-mongering,” he said. “I want to encourage environmentally-friendly tourism in the Wolds and wind turbines would seem to be the best way forward. The eco-lodges will have solar power as well as wind power.

“The carbon footprint has to be reduced.”