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Peak District windmill approved as park rejects concerns

A controversial 60ft-high wind turbine has been given the green light – despite warnings it will be harmful and intrusive and could set a precedent.
Peak Park planning officers wanted the application for the windmill at Mount Pleasant Farm in Middleton-by-Youlgrave to be rejected.

Officers wrote in their report: “The turbine would be very prominent and intrusive within important landscape views.

“The resultant harm to the landscape could set a precedent for similar developments.

“The harm to perceptions of the national park landscape would have detrimental knock-on effects for tourism, and the economic and social well-being of the national park and its communities,” they added.

But a Peak District National Park Authority planning committee voted in favour of the plans.

A national park spokeswoman said members decided environmental gains outweighed any potential harm to the landscape.

She added it would be two metres lower than nearby trees and would be shielded by the hilly landscape.

Applicant Stephen Maher was pleased by the decision and said renewable energy was increasingly vital due to climate change and high fuel prices.

Friends of the Peak District head of planning Andy Tickle, who spoke in favour of the plans at Friday’s meeting, dismissed claims it would set a precedent.

Mr Tickle said: “We and the national park continue to judge applications on a case by case basis.

“We will support single turbines at isolated properties where there is no less intrusive option available.

“We were a bit surprised by the officer’s view that it would be so prominent and disagreed strongly,” he added.

But Derbyshire Dales Ramblers’ Association was surprised and disappointed by the decision.

Countryside secretary John Riddall said: “It is contrary to the authority’s policy that makes protecting the park the first priority.

“We will be watching to see the outcome and if the landscape is being damaged we will know with whom the responsibility rests.”

By Danny Carden

Matlock Mercury

19 June 2008