On two occasions in the early 1990s Darrington suffered extensively from the effects of mining subsidence.
During this time people’s lives were made a misery with worry and uncertainty as they saw their houses falling apart and their property values plummeting. It has taken a number of years for the latter to be no longer a problem.
Confidence in the area has returned and Darrington is once again a desirable place to live.
Recent changes with the closure of the post office and high density, unsympathetic developments have come to alter the character of the village. Increased traffic levels and traffic flow on the upgraded A1 have also increased pollution and noise levels.
These recent changes, however, pale into insignificance when compared with the potential impact of the proposals for a new wind farm in close proximity to Darrington, West Park, Carleton and Wentbridge. For those not familiar with the proposed development:
A proposal exists to install five to eight wind turbines on land adjacent to the A1, land located above Wentbridge, directly opposite West park and overlooking Darrington.
This proposal is being formulated for presentation to the Wakefield MDC planning authority in early spring.
The turbines are to be mounted on towers 80 metres high, with rotors that have blades some 45 metres long; making an overall height of 125 metres.
To put this into perspective, the Statue of Liberty in New York is 46 metres tall and it would take some 25 to 30 double-decker buses, one on top of the other, to reach the top of a rotor blade at its height.
It is clear that there is a need to do something to develop renewable energy and that there is a need to avoid nimbyism in the positioning of such developments. Consider, however, the close proximity of these huge structures to the residents of West Park and Darrington, whose environmental well-being is likely to be adversely affected.
Are we now to see a return to the lack of interest in living in and around Darrington with plummeting house values and a long term blight on the area?
The developers were kind enough to arrange two exhibitions at Carleton and Wentbridge. Many attendees were clearly disturbed by the proposal and were very vocal with their observations.
Sadly, in directing extreme reservations to the developers, their energies were misdirected. All objections or support for the project should be directed in writing to those representatives who are in a position to act upon them and who are elected to serve the area covered by this proposal.
I am sure that your local government councillor, your Member of Parliament and officials in the Wakefield MDC planning authority would wish to know your views and would consider them when formulating a decision on the merits of the application.
8 March 2007
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