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Second green light for wind farm at Lambs Hill site

A controversial wind farm near Stockton has been given planning approval for the second time.

The go-ahead was first given in March for the development at the Lambs Hill site, west of Stillington, consisting of four 125m-high turbines producing up to 10MW of power.

But after campaigners appealed for a judicial review on a technical point, Stockton Council decided to quash the approval by its own planning committee.

Banks Renewables, who had already begun work on the wind farm, resubmitted its plans which came before Stockton’s planning committee again this week.

The heated meeting heard there had been 43 objections against the proposal and 20 letters of support.

Businessman, Rick Halton, area manager of Tolent Construction Ltd, told the committee the development could bring in up to £2m of business for the Thornaby-based firm, which employs more than 200 full time staff.

He said the wind farm project was “typical of the work we can do,” adding that a successful tender for the contract by Tolent could “provide real jobs for local people.”

Objections related mainly to the visual impact of the turbines on the surrounding landscape and residential properties, as well as the potential cumulative impact with other wind farm schemes proposed for the area.

Tom Kirby, spokesman for The Lambs Hill Action Group, made up of people living in areas surrounding the proposed site, said none of the group were “against wind generators”, but added: “We are against the totally unsuitable siting of them.”

The landscape of the North was “a very important and precious commodity” which should not be spoiled by wind farms, he said.

Eleanor Lane, of South Farm, Foxton, said she would look out straight on to the wind farm: “This will affect our daily life. The visual impact is major and adverse.”

Concerns were also raised by two parents on how a “shadowflicker” effect, caused by turbine blades passing the sun, might affect their children who suffered from epilepsy and visual spatial disorder.

Stewart Provan, senior development planner at Banks Renewables, told the committee the wind farm would “contribute to the green economy of the UK”.

The chair of the planning committee was given the ruling vote after committee members were split, and approved the wind farm with conditions following officers’ recommendations.