A development company has begun its bid to save stage one of a controversial Aberford wind farm project from the scrapheap.
City councillors voted in September to reject an application by Banks Developments for permission to put up a 60-metre ‘monitoring mast’ on green belt land at Hook Moor.
It has now emerged that the Durham-based firm has lodged an appeal against the council’s decision with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.
The move has drawn a defiant response from the Hook Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which is spearheading opposition to Banks’s plans.
Group spokeswoman Carolyn Walker said: “We expected all along that there would be an appeal and we’re determined to keep fighting.”
A spokesman for Leeds City Council said it was currently compiling evidence for submission to the Planning Inspectorate in support of its original ruling.
News of the appeal follows Banks’s successful bid to overturn the rejection of its plans for a wind monitoring mast in Pontefract.
The firm took that case to the Planning Inspectorate after the proposals were thrown out by Wakefield Council last summer.
A decision on the Leeds City Council appeal is expected by late spring this year.
Data from the Hook Moor monitoring mast would be used by Banks to fine-tune its plans for a wind farm at the same site.
It would involve as many as eight propeller-style turbines, each reaching a height of 125 metres.
Banks says the development would generate enough energy for up to 10,000 homes without the production of environmentally-damaging greenhouse gases.
Local residents, however, claim the site is unsuitable for a wind farm because of its proximity to houses. Leeds City Council received 779 letters of objection to the monitoring mast, compared to just six of support.
The local authority’s chief planning officer, though, recommended that the scheme should, in principle, be accepted.
A report to the nine councillors dealing with the application said the “wider environmental and economic benefits” of a wind farm outweighed the impact the mast would have on the landscape.
The councillors chose to ignore that advice, voting unanimously against the plan on September 27.
11 January 2008
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