Protesters fighting two controversial windfarm applications in Northumberland say both should be reviewed at the same public inquiry.
Planners at Alnwick District Council last week rejected their own officers’ advice to raise no objections to the 18- turbine scheme at Middlemoor, South Charlton.
They felt that the 125m-high structures – put forward by npower renewables – would ruin an unspoiled landscape and impact on tourism to the area.
Their decision now opens the way for a full public inquiry into the development, which will ultimately be decided by the Department for Trade and Industry.
But their Berwick council counterparts are now preparing to consider 10 further turbines by RidgeWind Ltd at Wandylaw, immediately adjacent to the Middlemoor site.
That decision will be determined by Berwick Borough Council. Speaking yesterday, key protesters living next to the sites said the Wandylaw bid should be part of the Middlemoor public inquiry.
“It’s the only sensible thing to do,” said Robert Thorp, who farms and has holiday chalets at South Charlton. “To go ahead and consider Wandylaw when Middlemoor is subject to a public inquiry would be premature.
“While the planning processes are different for each application, the factors determining them are identical.
“The turbines involved are the same height and the same size, and they will have a joint impact on the surrounding countryside.
Mr Thorp added: “They cannot be separated, and together they will form the biggest wind-farm in England and Wales. That must be considered and, we say, only a public inquiry will do.” Belford parish councillor Geoff O’Connell added: “Where the whole thing is going wrong is that the county council is viewing windfarm applications one at a time, rather than looking at the bigger picture.
“No-one seems to be taking an overview on this issue.
“Now that Middlemoor is going to a public consultation, the county must carefully consider how they deal with Wandylaw.”
The Texan businesswoman behind Wandylaw, Marjorie Neasham Glasgow, pledged “hundreds of thousands of pounds” worth of benefits for local communities at a public exhibition held in 2005.
But over 1,500 signatures have been raised against the plan.
By Robert Brookes
5 March 2007
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