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200ft wind turbine plans with a cash-back bonus to the area slammed by residents

Plans to build a 200ft wind turbine with a cashback bonus to the area have been met with fierce opposition by residents.

The council is currently consulting with various groups over the proposal for the 330kw, 66m (to blade tip) turbine at land on Millhouse Farm in Lydiate, with a view to making a decision by April 8.

In the application, seen by the Advertiser, farmer Francis Molyneux said he intends to use the turbine to help power an electric grain dryer and potato grading site on his arable farm, with plans to create up to four jobs. He has also pledged to reinvest a percentage of the profits back into the community as part of the scheme.

But angry residents have lodged concerns over noise, animal welfare and the impact on house prices.

Val Brierley, who lives near the site, said: “This is an area of outstanding beauty, a rural community, and this turbine would be simply horrendous for people living here.”

Mike and Jane Astle, of Back Lane, Aughton, said: “Our property overlooks the site and we can already quite clearly see the monitoring mast that has been placed there as part of this bid. This is only half the size of the proposed turbine the applicant is putting forward so anything above that is sure to dominate our view.

“We are fortunate enough to have barn owls, bats, buzzards and migratory wildfowl – including a pair of egrets – either resident in or frequenting the area and the planning authorities should be doing all within their power to preserve this habitat for them.”

In a letter submitted by renewable energy company Enviko, which would install the turbine, engineer Chris Feeney said they are aware of the need to justify a turbine of this size. To that end, Mr Feeney said that alongside the reduction in the site’s carbon footprint, his client would also pledge financial support for community projects and operations to the tune of 20 per cent of the annual revenue generated by the turbine.

He estimated this could amount to around £40,000 a year, with the council given the power to decide where the money would be spent, albeit with Mr Molyneux retaining a consultancy role.

Meanwhile, National Air Traffic Services safeguard group NERL has lodged a preliminary objection pending the results of a full assessment.

Consultees including Blackpool Airport and environmental groups have until the end of the month to register any objections to the development.