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Controversial plans to extend Hapton wind farm step nearer

Controversial plans to extend a wind farm in Hapton have moved a step closer.

Despite serious concerns being raised over the Hapton Tower site and the impact on neighbouring homeowners Burnley Council’s Development Control Committee decided to approve the application.

The final decision will now rest with the council’s head of planning who assured the committee all the conditions laid out must be met.

The proposal will see three turbines added to the existing Hameldon Hill Wind Farm taking the total number to six.

A number of objections were received including one from the residents of Thorney Bank Farm, which stands under 1,000m from the nearest turbine. They felt the three new turbines would have a negative impact on their property both visually and through noise pollution.

Coun. Roger Frost sympathised with those close to the turbines but also felt one of the biggest concerns was the impact the work could have on the old Hapton Tower site.

“One of the turbines is extremely close to the remains of Hapton Tower and I don’t want to see the surrounding land being ploughed up and damaging the site,” he said. “I would ask that this turbine is moved.”

Head of planning Mrs Sue Graham said a condition had been specifically put in to safeguard any archaeological remains but invited Coun. Frost to meet with planning officers and developers to discuss his fears at a later date.

Although Coun. Frost’s view was shared by a number of members Coun. Frank Cant said he could not envisage any problems with the extension of the wind farm.

“Since the three turbines were erected I have not had one person come up to me from the Padiham area to complain about them,” he said. “In fact a lot of people have commented on how attractive they look and how they are to people’s benefit.”

Summing up, Mrs Graham said: “We know that these developments are often controversial. We have an obligation though to help meet Government targets on renewable energy and this site has been identified as one that is suitable.”

Mr Steve Milburn, development manager for RWE npower renewables, said: “We are very pleased with this decision. Hameldon Hill Wind Farm has been operational since 2007 and we are looking forward to increasing the clean electricity produced there with this extension.”