A development giant has won its bid to rescue phase one of a controversial Leeds wind farm project from the scrapheap.
City councillors voted last September to reject an application by Banks Developments for permission to put up a 60-metre ‘monitoring mast’ on green belt land at Hook Moor, near Micklefield.
Durham-based Banks subsequently lodged an appeal against that decision with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.
And today it emerged that the Inspectorate has allowed the appeal – despite expressing concerns that the mast could harm the “character and appearance of the rural landscape”.
The planning inspector dealing with the case ruled that the potential environmental benefits of the scheme “clearly outweighed” the impact it might have on the landscape.
News that the council’s decision had been overturned was greeted with dismay by the Hook Moor Wind Farm Action Group, which is spearheading opposition to Banks’s plans.
Group spokeswoman Carolyn Walker told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We are disappointed, obviously – but that has not lessened our determination to keep on fighting.”
Banks is now hoping to have the test mast in place by the end of August.
The firm wants to use data from the temporary mast to fine-tune its plans for a full-scale wind farm at Hook Moor.
It would involve five propeller-style turbines, each reaching a height of 125 metres (410 feet).
Banks says they would generate enough energy for more than 8,000 homes without the production of environmentally-damaging greenhouse gases.
Local residents, though, argue that the site earmarked for the turbines is too close to their houses.
Banks’s application for permission for the full wind farm is currently being considered by the city council.
A decision is expected later this year.
By Paul Robinson
16 June 2008
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