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Wind farm proposal rebuffed

A popular skydiving site has been saved from the threat of closure after planners unanimously voted against a bid to build a wind farm.

Peterlee Parachute Centre, at Shotton Airfield, feared it would have to put a stop to jumps if the go-head was given to install two 111metre-high turbines at Edder Acres Farm.

There were concerns skydivers could be blown into the blades, which would have put the viability of operations at risk, with one expert claiming the development would have been “tantamount to signing a death warrant” for one of the key sites for parachuting in the region.

All nine of the members on District of Easington Council’s development control committee agreed with officer recommendations the application from A7 Energy should be refused because of the impact it would have on the centre.

Dozens of parachutists and experts turned out to show the strength of feeling against the application, while residents of Shotton Colliery spoke in favour of the proposal because of the disruption they say is already caused by the airfield and backed efforts to create renewable energy sources.

However, the decision made at a special meeting last night may not be the end of the two-year saga after Frank Musgrave, who runs the farm with his family, told the Echo an appeal will be launched against the outcome.

Ian Rosenvinge, boss at the centre, told the committee £800,000 had been invested in the site and wished “to move the airfield forward.”

He also said he faced personal financial ruin if it closed, with expansion plans for the site now on hold for the third year because of the wind farm application.

Sunderland Echo

16 November 2007