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Wind farms refusal gives objectors hope

Wind farm objectors in the Alnwick area are hoping that a decision to reject three applications near Berwick will impact on the ruling for the proposals near North Charlton.

Berwick Borough Council’s planning committee last week rejected bids for 20 turbines at three sites south west of Berwick – Moorsyde, Barmoor and Toft Hill.

Objectors to plans for an 18-turbine plant at Middlemoor, which went to a public inquiry last year, hope the inspector’s ruling will go the same way.

Meanwhile, the applicants of the three schemes which were denied planning permission confirmed they will appeal.

Middlemoor objector Rob Thorp, of Charlton Hall, said: “The decision just shows the unanimous feeling that turbines of this size just aren’t acceptable in the countryside. They’re far too big, far too intrusive in what is a very special landscape. Everybody thinks that, everybody knows that and I hope the public inquiry finds that.”

The Middlemoor ruling is expected this summer.

District and county councillor John Taylor also said the borough council’s decisions could have an effect on the ruling and voiced concerns about the amount of money the appeals will cost.

“The cost of defending these decisions against appeal is very unfairly loaded against the council,” he said.

The council is already facing an appeal by RidgeWind, the applicants of the Wandylaw proposals – adjacent to the Middlemoor site – which was turned down against the officers’ recommendation in October.

Richard Mardon, managing director of
Your Energy, applicants of Moorsyde, said: “We are naturally disappointed with the decision to refuse, especially given the urgent need to act against climate change and meet the region’s own renewable energy targets.

“This decision flies in the face of Berwick’s professional planners’ advice and we will of course be appealing.”

David Butterworth, managing director of Force 9 Energy, the company behind the Barmoor plans, told the Gazette that the company would appeal the decision.

He added: “We are surprised and disappointed by the decision since there was a clear recommendation from the planning officers that the project should be approved. That was after a great deal of hard work by the council and by the North East Assembly.”

A spokeswoman for npower renewables, applicants of Toft Hill, said: “We are is disappointed that the planning application has been turned down – especially given that it is arguably the least contentious of the three wind farm proposals, having more than 400 letters of support, only 22 letters of objection, and no objection from any statutory body.

“We will review the reasons given for refusal of the application, but it is likely that npower renewables will lodge an appeal.”

Northumberland Gazette

3 April 2008