Controversial proposals are being drawn up to place a wind farm outside an historic South Lakeland village.
The 80m height of the proposed wind turbines, nearing that of Big Ben, means they would also be seen from the neighbouring villages of Haverthwaite, Cark, Greenodd and Backbarrow and from as far away as Grange, Ulverston and Coniston.
Opposition to the plans, which are expected to be submitted for planning approval next spring, is beginning to gain momentum, as news of the scheme filters through to residents.
Darren Allcock, landlord of Cartmel’s The Royal Oak, said visitors to the area wanted scenic views, not a line of unsightly windmills.
Mr Allcock said: “It’s absolutely the wrong thing for this area.
The company behind this plan obviously don’t know how beautiful the area is.
“Wind farms should be placed out to sea where they are most effective – not inland where they are an eyesore.”
Grange town, district and county Councillor Bill Wearing agreed the turbines would be bad news for the area.
He said: “We rely on tourists and the money they bring to this area and we need to protect that.
“This country has spent thousands removing pylons that scarred our landscape and putting the cables underground.
“Why haven’t we learned from that mistake?”
The scheme was met with vigorous opposition at a public meeting organised by Haverthwaite Parish Council – during which the proposals were “totally rejected”, said chairman Cllr Christina Watkinson.
“This will be visible for miles around – it will ruin a very beautiful area,” she added.
Lower Holker Parish Council also discussed the proposals on Friday.
Cllr Margaret Keith said: “The scheme is not welcome – they have picked one of the most beautiful areas we have that is teeming with wildlife.”
The Italian power company behind the six turbines is Milan-based Energia in Natura.
It has now written to inform parish councils in the area of its intentions.
But Energia in Natura claims the wind farm, on elevated land looking out to Morecambe Bay, would save 18,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and would power 8,500 homes.
The company’s own scoping report on the site, at Stribers Allotment off the B5278 road through Holker, acknowledges that changes to the landscape would be unavoidable.
However, it states: “A fair balance needs to be reached between the energy produced by the wind farm against the local environmental impact.”
According to the report, 55 historic and listed buildings in Cartmel as well as those in Holker and Cark exist near the site.
The turbines could also interfere with the television signal of an estimated 148 homes at Cartmel, Winter Hill, Penny Bridge, Staveley-in-Cartmel and Backbarrow.
And the structures would produce some noise pollution.
But if given the go-ahead, the company has offered to channel some of the profits from the site into a local community fund.
Residents of the area, it claims, could then decide how to spend the cash.
Planning permission is currently being sought from South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) for a 70m mast on the site to monitor wind speed and direction.
This initial application will be discussed by members of SLDC’s planning committee at a future date.
9 June 2008
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