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Racecourse considers appeal on turbine vote

Opponents of controversial plans for a 51 metre high wind turbine at Hexham Racecourse were celebrating on Tuesday when the scheme was turned down by planners.

But their celebrations may be short lived, as racecourse officials are considering an appeal against the decision – made against officers’ advice.

Racecourse chief executive Charles Enderby said: “We have spent two years working on this application, so we are naturally very disappointed with the outcome.

“We will decide our next move when we receive the written report on the committee’s decision.”

Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee rejected the proposal on a 7-4 vote.

The scheme was designed to make Hexham the first carbon neutral racecourse in the country.

More than 60 individual objection went before the committee, including letters from Hexhamshire Parish Council, the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

The Ministry of Defence raised issues regarding possible radar interference.

Other objectors questioned the effect on cultural heritage, noise issues, shadow flicker and the overshadowing of local footpaths and bridleways.

Objector Richard Simons of Hexham told the committee: “ The turbine would be prominent, conspicuous and highly visible, causing a negative impact to Hexham Abbey. There is no justification for it.”

Hexham’s Coun. Derek Kennedy, said: “If the applicant considered a 20-metre turbine which could be screened by the tree line, coupled with solar panels on the vast roofline on the course’s buildings this would be a great compromise solution.”