Councillors could give stage one of a wind farm scheme between Garforth & Micklefield the go-ahead – less than a month after throwing out the plan.
A city council panel voted on September 27 to reject a bid by Banks
Developments to put up a 60-metre ‘monitoring mast’ on green belt land at Hook Moor.
But now a report by the council’s chief planning officer has advised panel members that they can still change their minds and approve the application when they meet again on Thursday.
The report points out a bid for permission for a similar mast in Doncaster’s Green Belt was recently allowed through on appeal by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate after initially being turned down by the local council.
The report goes on to say: “Members are informed that this appeal case largely represents the Planning Inspectorate’s view of wind monitoring masts in the Green Belt.”
Durham-based Banks has already pledged to appeal against the Leeds plans panel’s original decision.
Its case would also be dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate and, the report hints, would therefore appear to stand a good chance of success.
Carolyn Walker, spokeswoman for the Hook Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which has spearheaded opposition to
Banks’s scheme, today said she was “disappointed” to hear about the possibility of a U-turn.
She added: “I hope the councillors stick to their guns and continue to take into account the strength of local feeling on this issue.”
Banks wants to use data from the temporary monitoring mast to fine-tune its proposals for as many as eight propeller-style turbines, also at Hook Moor.
Each turbine would reach a height of 125 metres – taller than the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament.
Banks says the development would generate enough energy for up to 10,000 homes without the production of environmentally-damaging greenhouse gases.
Campaigners, however, claim the site earmarked for the wind farm is unsuitable because of its proximity to people’s houses.
By Paul Robinson
22 October 2007
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