- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Turbine dispute deepens

A farmer behind plans to build a mini-windfarm has hit back in a row which has sparked nearly 200 objections to his plans.

Harry Sutton, 72, who has applied to put four 19-metre high wind turbines on land at Little Hoole, near Leyland, has said the farms he owns in the area will struggle to survive unless he gets the go-ahead for the plans.

He said he would be willing to appeal if planners knock back his proposals which have sparked an angry response from local people.

A residents’ group founded to oppose the plans has submitted 184 letters of objection to the proposals for land at Chestnut House Farm in the village.

Mr Sutton said: “I have worked this land all my life, but now I want to hand it over to my grandson. He wants to keep the agricultural business going and expand it, and I am supporting him in it.

“If there is going to be a future for farming, something has to be done about the cost of it, and energy is a big part of that.

“If we can stabilise the cost of energy by producing our own, we can keep it viable. But if we cannot, then it is just uneconomical to keep doing.”

He accused opponents of “massive exaggeration” in their objections which centre around concerns over the turbines’ ability to generate sufficient power, and the loss of greenbelt land.

The applicant said objections on the grounds of health fears were “completely irrelevant.”

He added: “I am not a planning expert, but the people I have working for me on this tell me that these concerns are a nonsense.

“People have the right to object and it will be down to the planners on South Ribble Council to decide what to do.”

Mr Sutton added that should the application be rejected at a meeting of the authority’s planning committee, expected to be held in early 2012, he would “consider all the options” including lodging an appeal.

South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook, who has chaired public meetings to discuss the plans, said the turbines would be “the highest thing for miles.”

She said: “The applicant’s arguments are spurious at best. When he was asked at the meeting, he said he did not know whether the turbines were going to contribute to the National Grid, and yet his application says it will.

“I am supportive of renewable energy but not where it will have such a dramatic impact on local people as it will in Little Hoole.”

A planning report has not been drawn up by the authority’s officers, who are awaiting further information from the applicant before it is sent to the authority’s planning committee for a decision.

The application has been submitted to the council through Mr Sutton’s business, SA Estates, based in Longton, near Preston.