A fresh row has erupted over plans to build a large wind turbine which critics say would spoil an area of natural beauty.
The bid to erect the 77.9m-high turbine at New Bewick near Eglingham, north of Alnwick, has been opposed by scores of locals and the county’s National Park Authority. Three months ago the authority’s development management committee resolved to object to the planning application “because of the potential visual impact on views to and from the National Park”.
Now expert consultants commissioned by a group fighting the plan have submitted a damning report about visual images intended to show county councillors what the turbine will look like in the surrounding landscape.
Architec – who were commissioned by Save Northumberland’s Environment (SANE) – say photomontages produced by the applicant “misrepresent the proposal and mislead the viewer”.
Planning consent for the single turbine is being sought by land agent George F White on behalf of John Wrangham, owner of the Harehope Estate and the proposed site west of New Bewick Farm.
SANE says it commissioned Architec to study the applicant’s photomontages after local people complained that they were misleading. The Architec report says: “The 11 panoramic visualisations presented to show the New Bewick turbine cannot provide any assessor with a realistic impression of the proposal. They are technically flawed, do not conform to any existing guidance and can only mislead the public, planners and decision-makers alike. Overall, an impression is given of a single turbine which will be much smaller and much further away than it will appear in reality.”
Yesterday SANE member Andrew Joicey said: “I am not at all surprised that serious deficiencies have been identified.”
Richard Garland, from George F White, said: “Firstly, it is disappointing that the relatively few objectors to this application feel the need to use the press to try to generate negative publicity, rather than leaving the application to the capable decision of the planning system.
“Secondly, the application as submitted is accompanied by a huge amount of high quality studies and supporting information from experienced, specialist industry professionals.
“The Landscape Visual Impact Assessment was commissioned independently from a highly experienced consultancy. Not surprisingly, the other consultant, paid a lot of money by the objectors, has tried to pick up technical issues within the LVIA. Their counter-report uses a lot of technical language to appear disparaging on first glance. However, when the comments within the report are examined, they lack substance or accuracy.”
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