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Campaigners’ anger as Sancton Hill wind farm plan is approved at County Hall

Angry scenes followed the approval of a wind farm in the Yorkshire Wolds.

At a planning meeting, East Riding councillors voted to approve controversial plans for five 100-metre-high wind turbines at a site in the pretty village of Sancton, near Market Weighton.

Residents had fought against the development, claiming it would be a blot on the Yorkshire Wolds landscape.

Following the meeting, campaigners blasted East Riding Council Chairman Councillor David Rudd who spoke in favour of approving Sancton Hill wind farm.

Mr Rudd had told councillors that most villagers backed the plan but did not want to speak up because it could “affect their social life”.

Councillors had arrived at Beverley’s County Hall to be met by protesters with placards demanding the beauty of the Wolds Way be protected.

In the end the application by Cornwall Light and Power (CLP) was passed by a majority of 12 to three.

But councillors said there was little point in blocking the plan to have it approved on appeal, as happened with the nearby Sober Hill plan, near North Newbald.

As he proposed the officers’ recommendation for approval be supported, Councillor Paul Robinson said: “The Sober Hill inquiry was a nasty experience, to refuse this today would be just delaying the inevitable. With a great deal of reluctance I propose we go with the recommendation.”

Approval was agreed despite an impassioned plea by resident Douglas Saunders, 66, of Hessleskew Lane, Sancton, who said the nearest turbine would be only 870 metres from his home.

As interested parties left the hall after the vote, Mr Saunders’ wife, Ann, asked Mr Rudd why his conscience had allowed him to misrepresent people’s views.

He replied that his conscience was fine.

Outside, representatives from Cornwall Light and Power could not hide their delight.

Development Director Matt Partridge said: “I thought it would be close and I didn’t think it would be that quick.”

Mr Partridge dismissed concerns that councillors had only approved the plan because they felt rejecting it would be pointless.

He said: “You have to ask why those decisions were overturned on appeal.

“We have a national energy policy that has to be met.

“A third of our electricity capacity will be retired over the next ten years.

“We can only fill that gap partly by using less power.”