November 14, 2007

Wind Farm Inquiry Day 2 — Afternoon

Claims that views of the Middlemoor wind farm will be obscured by trees have been rubbished by an objector to the 18-turbine scheme.

South Charlton farmer and Alnwick District councillor Robert Thorp spoke during a cross-examination of npower planning witness David Stewart during Wednesday afternoon.

He was responding to statements in the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) drawn up for Middlemoor, which claimed that visual impact and effect on homes and local listed buildings would be mitigated by the landscape.

“Throughout the EIS the effect on local residents is minimised by suggesting that houses are much screened by trees, and that views of the wind farm are only at oblique angles,” he said.

“For instance, Charlton Mires farmhouse is said to have no meaningful line of sight, when in fact it is looking straight at the wind farm. East Link Hall is the same.

“Charlton Hall, as with many other houses in the area, is enjoyed from the garden and from its setting in general.

“The great majority of trees are deciduous, giving no screening for six months of the year.”

Coun Thorp also raised concerns that the EIS stated that no effect on 33 local listed buildings was anticipated, adding: “The visibility from South Charlton Church, for one, will be noticeably denigrated.

“I would suggest that the inferences made in the EIS are somewhat biased, and I want to draw that to the inspector’s attention.”

But Mr Stewart said: “For most of the views, the turbines will be behind you.”

Coun Thorp responded: “Quite obviously, if you stand with your back to the turbines, you won’t see them.”

Under re-examination by npower advocate Marcus Trinick, Mr Stewart said: “The vast majority of listed buildings are listed because of architectural or historical interest.

“Those listed because of their setting are very few and far between.

“If you can identify that a building was designed with its setting in mind, then that elevates the case.

“If the building is designed to be seen from a wide area, you would look to see whether you could preserve that setting today.”

Northumberland Gazette

14 November 2007

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