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“Hollow victory” for windfarm protestors

Campaigners have described the decision by a Government inspector to throw out one of two planning applications for windfarms in Spaldington as a “hollow victory”.

The decsion announced this week follows a four week public inquiry held in Goole in May and June surrounding plans to build a total of 12 400 foot turbines near the village.

During the bitter battle residents argued that if the windfarms were given the go-ahead they would overshadow their homes and the surrounding landscape – including Howden’s historic Minster – rendering their lives “unhappy and intolerable.”

Spaldington Turbine Opposition Protest Group (STOP) raised nearly £70,000 to pay for specialist help in their fight against proposals by German company Volkswind for seven turbines at Spaldington Common and those by energy company Falck Renewables to build five at the former Spaldington Airfield.

They were joined in opposition by East Riding Council (ERYC) whose planning committee had earlier thrown out both proposals.

Following the inquiry, STOP chairman Paul Taylor and campaign supporter Coun Paul Robinson said they had done everything they possibly could to fight the plans.

This week they have learned that inspector George Baird, who led the inquiry, has come down in agreement with them on the larger of the two plans but he has found in favour of the smaller one for the airfield.

Speaking to the Courier yesterday (Wednesday), Mr Taylor said: “We have very mixed feelings towards the decision. It is a hollow victory.

“We are obviously delighted that we have stopped one of the windfarms – but we haven’t stopped the other one. The villagers of Spaldington have always taken the view that they were fighting one huge development and neither application was acceptable. Therefore the news that the Airfield Appeal has been upheld is a blow to our community.”

Coun Robinson, who chaired the ERYC planning committee at the time of its rejection of the plans, echoed Mr Taylor’s comments, adding: “It is a bitter sweet moment. I really feel for the residents of Spaldington. I realise just how deflated and devastated they feel but this is tempered by winning one of them.

“The STOP campaign has been fantastic and its members worked so very very hard to mount their fight at the inquiry. They should take all the credit for the decision to throw one of the plans out.”

A spokesman for ERYC said: “This is an important decision as it provides useful information regarding the impact of wind turbines on residential amenity and importantly deals with the issue of cummulative impact that will become important as increasing numbers of turbines are constructed in the East Riding over the next few years.”