An energy company has amended its plans for a proposed wind farm days before the start of a public inquiry into the development.
Banks Developments said the changes had been made after consultation with the community about the site at the Steadings, near Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland.
But opponents of the development dismissed the changes as “like moving deck chairs on board the Titanic “.
Carol Brodie, who lives in a listed building on the site, said she was disappointed by the timing of the proposed changes.
“I just find it incredibly rude that people find out through the good pages of The Journal that they are changing their plans rather than being contacted directly. It is also not right that this is being done the week before an inquiry meeting.
“When are people supposed to go and have a proper look at what it is they are talking about?
“You just don’t know what is going on and are left in the dark and it makes me very nervous.”
Two turbines have been removed under the new proposals, leaving a total of 21, and the positions of some turbines have also been changed.
Banks renewables projects director Rob Williams said: “The overall size of the development site has been reduced, along with the numbers of roads and ‘borrow pits,’ from which material is extracted to make the roads which provide access to the turbines.
“Development in an area found to have a bat population has also been taken out of the scheme.
“Our proposed development is located on marginal farmland, away from major tourist routes, and could provide numerous local and regional benefits.
“If planning permission is given, Steadings Wind Farm will provide electricity for tens of thousands of Northumberland households, meeting a significant proportion of the county’s renewable energy target.
“It would also create significant inward investment in its construction and operation, in a business sector which has been identified as a key area of opportunity for the region by One NorthEast.” Mr Williams said he had confidence in the case his firm would be putting at the inquiry.
“We are committed to continuing to work with local communities around the detail of the Steadings scheme and look forward to putting forward what we believe is a strong case at the forthcoming public inquiry into wind energy generation in Northumberland.”
The scheme is one of three in the North Tynedale area that will be put before a joint public inquiry, which has a preliminary meeting next Monday.
The inquiry will also consider an application by Amec Project Investments to put up a wind farm on the Ray Estate near Kirkwhelpington and an appeal by Wind Prospect Developments over failure to determine an application for turbines at Green Rigg Fell, near Birtley, by the legal deadline and then its refusal.
The Journal – Newcastle-upon-Tyne
13 September 2007
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