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Controversial wind farm towers over Yarm villages

Villagers who fought to stop a controversial wind farm near Yarm are now learning to live in the shadow of the giant turbines.

The five 125-metre wind turbines have been installed between the villages of Hilton and Seamer and will soon start turning, with the aim of generating power for around 7,000 homes.

The long battle to block the turbine development suffered the final blow in May 2010 when the green light was given.

A three-day public inquiry had been held by the Planning Inspectorate to examine the legitimacy of Hambleton Council’s rejection of two of the 125-metre turbines.

Stockton Council had already approved the three turbines within its own administrative area which completed the £15m, five-turbine development by Broadview Energy.

Villagers had urged planning inspector Elizabeth Fieldhouse to reject the turbines, citing concerns over visual impact, safety, potential consequences on the roads and effects on wildlife.

In making her decision Mrs Fieldhouse said she considered the character of rolling lowland agricultural landscape “would not be harmed or changed unacceptably”.

David Orlandi, 18, whose house in Hilton looks on to the wind farm, said: “It ruins our view, it’s ruined the countryside.”

Another Hilton resident said: “It’s worse than we ever dreamed of – it’s horrendous.”

Ian McNaughton, owner of The Falcon pub in Hilton, said of the wind farm: “It’s totally inefficient and a proven waste of money.

“I have been told people turning up to look at houses didn’t even look at the properties – they’re just turning away.”

But another Hilton resident said: “We expected something that would dominate the area, but don’t feel they do.”

James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, in whose constituency three of the turbines are sited, said: “I have no doubt residents must feel vindicated when they warned of the blot it would be on the landscape, it is just a shame they had to be proven right in this way.”

In May, Broadview Energy sold the Hilton Seamer wind farm and two other onshore wind farms to Infinis Wind Holdings Ltd, a subsidiary of the Infinis group.