Controversial plans for a windfarm near Darrington are back on the agenda after a decision to block a monitoring mast was overturned.
Developers Banks Ltd appealed to the planning inspectorate after Wakefield planners rejected its application for a 60m wind monitoring mast on land next to Westfield Lane – seen as a precursor to a further application for a six-turbine windfarm.
The decision last July was hailed a victory for the campaigners who voted in their hundreds against the plan, but this week planning inspector Philip Major approved the application. In his report, he acknowledged the objections and said: “The many representations received covered a large number of matters, though many of these addressed the possibility of wind farm development and not the proposal before me.”
He disagreed with objectors that the monitoring mast would cause a distraction to drivers on the A1 or that it would harm wildlife, but stated that the application conflicted with the council’s unitary development plan (UDP) and there would be a degree of harm to the landscape.
Mr Major said the mast must be removed within three years and some archeological surveys should be carried out before the mast was built.
Campaigners against the windfarm had a public meeting on Tuesday night. Tony Hames, chairman of Pontefract Wind Farm Action Group (PWAG) said:
“We are going to try and step up our campaign against the windfarm plan now. We are arranging a meeting with all parish and district councillors in the surrounding area. Although we can’t appeal against this latest decision, we are going to register our disappointment that the government hasn’t supported the local authority.
“We are pleased that inspector put in his report that the one mast would have an impact on the landscape.”
10 January 2008
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