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Report slams 'blight' of windfarm proposal

Building a windfarm near Littleborough would blight the landscape and harm leisure opportunities.

That is the verdict of an independent report commissioned by Rochdale, Calderdale, Lancashire and Rossendale councils to look at Coronation Power’s proposals to build 12 125m-high turbines at Crook Hill.

Authors North Yorkshire-based Julie Martin Associates examined the landscape and visual consequences of the scheme.

They recommend the plans are rejected.

“The windfarm would cause major harm to the key characteristics and integrity of this sensitive and highly valued landscape because it would be out of scale, would tend to dominate key views and important skylines and would adversely affect the area’s openness, wildness and tranquillity,” they state.

“This, in turn, would affect the quality of the recreational experience which is closely based on the special landscape qualities that Crook Hill offers.”

The report, which also looked at the firm’s plans for Reaps Moss and Todmorden Moor, goes on to state the Crook Hill scheme would have a major impact on a number of footpaths running through the area, including the Pennine Bridleway, Mary Towneley Loop and the Rochdale Way.

It also predicts the turbines would be visible from as far as the M62, Hebden Bridge and the northern edges of the Peak District.

Chris Edwards, of protesters the Friends of the South Pennines, welcomed the findings.

He said: “We know that it is wrong to put these monstrous things up on Crook Hill, but to have a professional organisation, which is familiar with the planning system, confirm that is very encouraging.

“All along we have had courage in our convictions but now we do feel more optimistic that this is a fight that can be won.”

Richard Butler, Rochdale Council’s principal planning officer, said: “The report has been commissioned to provide independent and expert advice to help inform the assessment of each application by the relevant councils.

“The assessment covers the independent and cumulative landscape and visual impacts and the conclusions of the report will be assessed together with all other relevant considerations.”

By Damon Wilkinson

Rochdale Observer

30 June 2007