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Draughton Parish Council objects to latest turbines plan

Draughton Parish Council is objecting to new plans for two 75-metre-high wind turbines at nearby Chelker Reservoir – and it accuses the applicant, Kelda Water Services (KWS), of ignoring the “inconvenient truth” that there is a settlement of houses adjoining the site.

This is the third application for replacement turbines at the site. Craven District Council rejected a scheme for two 125-metre turbines in 2009 and KWS withdrew a second planning application, for three 80-metre-high structures, earlier this year.

In the parish council’s letter of objection, chairman Coun Meriel Curtis acknowledges the applicant has tried to minimise the detrimental effects on the landscape, but says it has not responded to concerns about the impact on those living near the site.

“The two turbines remaining in the current revised plans are, in fact, the ones closest to the residential properties,” she said.

“We find it staggeringly cynical that the applicant is prepared to adjust their plans in an effort to answer landscape concerns, but will clearly do so little to respond to the very real safety and welfare concerns raised by the people who would be forced to live within 500m of these machines.” Coun Curtis pointed out that plans for a wind farm at Brightenber Hill, near Gargrave, were turned down on appeal because it would adversely affect the residential amenity of one property, which was 650m away from the nearest turbine.

“At Chelker, the machines would be even closer, within 450m of the nearest homes, and would affect not just one farm, but six houses within 600m of the closest turbine.

“It has seemed to have been the strategy of first Yorkshire Water and now Kelda Water, throughout this whole process of applying to replace their defunct turbines at Chelker, to ignore the inconvenient truth that there is a settlement of houses adjoining their small development site.”

The parish council lists its grounds of objection as the close proximity of residential properties, noise nuisance, shadow flicker, safety concerns in the event of any structural problem and visual impact.

It also calls on Craven District Council to consider setting a safe exclusion zone around any proposed turbines in the Craven area of at least 1.5km.

The application is expected to go before Craven’s planning committee in the new year, possibly as early as January.