Controversial plans for a major new wind farm near Yarm are to go out to public consultation.
Over the coming weeks, views will be sought on the scheme to build up to eight wind turbines on farmland between Hilton and Seamer villages, near the A19.
The turbines could reach up to 100 metres with a 95-metre diameter.
They will inevitably affect some nearby residents’ views and concerns have already been expressed over a potential impact on house prices.
Developers Broadview Energy Ltd said they would only submit a planning application after consultation and were seeking advice from Stockton and Hambleton councils on the proposals.
Feasibility studies indicate the land may be suitable for such use, the company said, and it was carrying out studies on the potential environmental impact.
People living near the proposed development said they need to know more.
Geoff Kelley, a 60-year-old businessman who lives just outside Seamer, said: “The main concern is how it would affect house prices.
“People save up all their lives to buy a nice house then within six months they could lose half the value of their properties because of this.
“I don’t mind them, but why put them so close to houses? I think this is going to be a red hot potato, it’s big business and it would take a lot of people to stop it.”
Carolyn and Graham Bond recently gained planning permission for an extension to their Hilton property boasting a feature window which looks out on to the proposed wind farm site.
Mr Bond said: “I’m not against it at the minute, but I am concerned. It’s just the height of them.
“If everyone is happy we won’t make a big fuss, but we will have to see the final plans first.”
Mrs Bond said: “I am all in favour of wind farms so I can’t be a NIMBY. They have got go somewhere and I don’t feel I can really complain.
“However, we will be facing it directly, but the company hasn’t put a drawings of the view from Hilton on the website so that concerns me slightly.”
Another resident who did not want to be named said: “We have come up here for the views and I am concerned about losing them.
“My main concern is the devaluation of property. There will come a point when we downsize and I don’t think it’s fair that people will lose money over this when others will be gaining an awful lot.
“We need sustainable energy and I am not going to object for the sake of it as long as they are far enough away, but I would rather they were out at sea or on the moors where they are not near residents.”
Jeff Corrigan, managing director of Broadview Energy, said the company hoped to work closely with residents and landowners to consider their views in the design of the project.
“We have held some meetings with some of the immediate neighbours and everybody seems more or less open to the project, but they want more details,” he said.
Public exhibitions will be held in the spring and Broadview said If a planning was successful, work would not be expected to begin before 2011.
Danny Maher, Broadview Energy project manager, said: “The project, which will help fight climate change, is well located near to existing electricity transmission lines and has a good wind resource. We look forward to discussing the project with the local communities and working with the council to develop the final design.”
An initial survey by the company indicates the site has the capacity to cater for up to 8,000 homes.
by Naomi Corrigan
14 January 2008
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