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Windfarm plan put in a spin by model club  

Plans to site a windfarm in north Sheffield have hit a buffer – amid complaints from a model aeroplane group which fears the turbines will ground their flights.

Council chiefs are looking at placing wind turbines on four sites in the Chapeltown and Ecclesfield areas of the city – but were surprised to hear the turbines could halt flights by Concord Model Flying Club.

Council leader Jan Wilson admitted they had been “caught out” by news of the club, even though it operates with a council licence.

“We should have known about this flying club because it has a lease from the council, so we have been caught out with one part of the council not knowing what the other part is doing,” she told a meeting of the council’s Cabinet.

The club, which has 40 members, flies planes with wingspans of up to four feet on a site at Westwood Country Park, Tankersley.

But it says it will have to stop flying if turbines are erected, as the turbulence caused by the turbines will send the planes out of control.

Club chairman Alan Gardner said: “We have flown from a field at this site for over 20 years and have a licence from the council. We were horrified to hear the prospect of having wind turbines on that site.

“We will not fly in unsafe conditions. If the turbines were erected we would not risk the danger of planes going out of control because of the turbulence.”

Mr Gardner said the club had limited places where it could fly.

“It’s the only place in Sheffield
we fly powered planes because there is a noise factor, and people get worried when they hear it, so other parks in the city are not suitable. We used to fly at Concord Park but that conflicted with football and cricket and houses nearby.”

The council has earmarked four possible sites for turbines – council land at Westwood Country Park in Tankersley and at Butterthwaite Farm near the M1 at Ecclesfield, and private land at Hesley Wood in Chapeltown and Smithy Wood in Ecclesfield.

Speaking at the Cabinet meeting Coun Jan Wilson told officers to look in more detail at the wind turbine sites.

“We want to explore this because this is the first any of us have heard about this club. This site has an important recreational use,” she said.

“We should also investigate other areas because all the sites we have are in the north of the city and it’s making residents there feel victimised.”

By Lucy Ashton

sheffieldtoday.net

29 March 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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