Controversial plans to build a test mast near a site earmarked for a major wind farm have been turned down.
The 60m mast was proposed to be located in a field between Seamer and Hilton villages, gathering wind data over a period of two years.
The information would be used to determine whether the area would harness enough wind power for a contentious wind farm scheme, proposed by Broadview Energy Ltd.
Stockton Council’s planning committee was told yesterday it could not consider the possible future provision of a wind farm when determining the application for a mast.
But many residents argued that the monitoring mast is simply “a pre-cursor” or a “Trojan horse” for the wind farm.
Dr Leo Hicks, who has lived in Hilton for 27 years, also told the meeting a test mast is “totally unnecessary” as historical Government data on wind speeds in the area is already available.
He added: “We would urge the committee to support the overwhelming objections of local residents.”
Janet Bainbridge said: “I have lived in Seamer for 36 years and I can’t believe anyone would wish to industrialise the only remaining piece of countryside between Ingleby Barwick and the Cleveland Hills, replacing it with monstrous, churning, expensive and inefficient wind turbines.”
The majority of councillors on the committee voted against the planning officers’ recommendation to accept the test mast proposal due to the impact on the landscape and the appearance of the development.
And Derek Winterbotham, from Seamer, said: “This is God’s country and no place for a temporary mast, let alone a wind farm.”
Feasibility studies indicate the land may be suitable for a wind farm, the company said. If a planning application was successful, work would not be expected to begin before 2011.
A spokesman for the developer told the meeting: “Until our studies have been completed we will make no decision over whether or not to go ahead with the application for a wind farm.”
Broadview Energy project manager Danny Maher said previously: “The project, which will help fight climate change, is well located near to existing electricity transmission lines and has a good wind resource.”
by Naomi Corrigan
13 March 2008
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