August 28, 2010

Villagers protest at long wait for wind farm ruling

Darlington & Stockton Times, 27 August 2010

Villagers living near the site of a proposed wind farm north-east of Darlington say their lives are on hold and are pressing for a decision.

People in Sadberge and Bishopton have asked Darlington Borough Council to set a date to assess the planning application for ten turbines at Moor House Farm.

Banks Developments, a County Durham company, submitted the application at the beginning of the year, but it has yet to come before the planning committee because Durham Tees Valley Airport has raised concern about the possible effects on radar.

Peter Wood, chairman, of the Seven Parishes Action Group, set up to oppose the development, said: “Why didn’t Banks know about this before? All the residents here are in a state of total unknown.

“People who are selling their houses have had a number of viewers, but as soon as the searches reveal the potential for a wind farm, the sales go cold. It’s putting everybody’s lives on hold.

“What’s happened to the human rights of several thousand of people who live here? Why can’t we get on with our lives?”

Local ward councillor Brian Jones said: “There’s clearly been a lengthy hold-up. I said from the outset that any wind farm development would be faced with a major obstacle, and that’s what’s happening now.

“We can’t let anything go ahead that’s not 100 per cent safe.”

Phil Dyke, managing director of Banks Renewables, said: “The development of any planning application is a complex process and takes considerable time. We acknowledge that the airport has concerns, however we are confident we can find a solution to the issues they have raised.

“We hope these matters will be resolved in the near future so the planning application can be determined.

“Numerous statutory bodies have been consulted as part of the application process, and following detailed assessment and mitigation, there are no objections from these bodies. The site is situated in an area identified by both Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council as having capacity for wind developments of this sort.

“The absence of objections from statutory bodies backs up this appraisal.”

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said: “We have received the planning application for a wind farm at Moor House which is currently under consideration.

However, objections have been raised by Durham Tees Valley Airport, and these need to be addressed by the applicant before it can progress and be put before a planning committee.”

Durham Tees valley Airport declined to comment.

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