National park planners in Northumberland look set to object to a proposed wind farm due to its impact on the area’s landscape.
Northumberland National Park Authority’s development management committee will on Wednesday be recommended to agree to oppose plans from developer RES for nine 127m turbines at Park Head, north of Netherwitton.
The application is to be decided by a Government planning inspector following a public inquiry. The park authority’s planning committee will on Wednesday be advised to oppose the scheme, which is located close to the organisation’s boundaries.
A report to its meeting states that the turbines will be visible to a substantial area of the Cheviot hills, an area east of Kidland Forest, a small area of Hadrian’s Wall and a substantial part of the Simonside Hills.
Officers describe those hills as “a key recreation site within the national park” and say that the Simonside ridge is “particularly sensitive to any skyline structures because of its important views particularly those from the national park to the north and east.”
The report says the turbines will have a “significant impact on the quality and character of the landscape” of the park, in particular the Simonside area.
This impact will be from the turbines on their own, and if considered with other projects in the same area.
The report states: “The cumulative impact of this and other development in the area particularly Wingates and Todd Hill wind farms would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape character of the national park.”
It concludes: “Members are recommended to object to the proposed development on the basis of its unacceptable negative impact on the landscape character of the national park, particularly from the Simonside area.”
The application was submitted to Alnwick District Council in March 2009, before that authority was replaced by Northumberland County Council.
It is one of several proposed wind farms in the same area, along with schemes from Novera Energy, Coronation Power, Energy4All and BT.
Objections have come in from 120 local people, two neighbouring parish councils, Newcastle Airport, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Natural England.
The Wingates not Wind Farms action group is also objecting.
Opponents are concerned about the cumulative impact of the schemes on the landscape and uninterrupted views of open countryside, and fear the turbines will diminish people’s quality of life and create unwanted noise.
But 173 letters of support have been submitted to the council.
The application is going to a public inquiry with RES having appealed on the grounds that the county council did not determine it within a 16 week planning target.
The council has however insisted the application was not determined because the developer has not provided information requested of it.
The county council last week agreed that it would be opposing the scheme at the inquiry, due to lack of detailed information.
RES has previously said it expects the inquiry to take place this spring.
Last night, the park’s stance was applauded by the Wingates action group.
Chairman John Thompson said: “I welcome the fact they are maintaining a consistent approach and also that they are drawing attention to the potential cumulative impact which is as important as each of the individual ones.”