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Rural wind revolt rages on

A rural revolt over the siting of wind turbines and masts in Northumberland continues as councillors rejected planning officer advice once again.

And these further refusals, at Tuesday night’s meeting of the county council’s planning and environment committee, led to tension between chairman Trevor Thorne and members.

As the committee threw out a proposal for a 60-metre anemometer, or met mast, on Belford Burn, Coun Thorne questioned fellow north Northumberland member John Taylor’s reasons for refusal, pointing out that it was not a turbine.

This prompted a heated Coun Taylor to reply: “You are calling into question my integrity which I resent.”

But Coun Thorne said that he was concerned because the planning officers were warning that a rejection wouldn’t stand up at appeal.

Earlier in the meeting, as members turned down a single turbine at Hexham Racecourse, Coun Thorne had warned members to pay heed to the planning officers.

“You need to get your heads around these applications and what the officers are saying,” he said.

“We have to be very careful about what we are doing and weigh it up on planning grounds.”

Coun Jeff Gobin described his comments as ‘uncalled-for’.