August 16, 2012

Mayor leads attack on Guisborough wind farm proposal

by Mike Morgan, Evening Gazette | 16 August 2012

Plans for six wind turbines – each twice the height of the Transporter Bridge – have been branded an “abomination”.

Proposals for the £15.6m wind farm on land to the north Guisborough could produce power for 12,500 homes, it was revealed yesterday.

But the proposed Bankfield Wind Farm, opposite a landfill site on the north of the A171, has already met with opposition.

From floor to tip, the six turbines will reach up to a maximum height of 410ft.

That means they would dwarf the 169ft Nelson’s column – and be almost twice the height of Middlesbrough’s Transporter, which stands at 225ft.

Guisborough town mayor Malcolm Griffiths said he was strongly opposed.

And he added it will be “right in the face” of thousands of householders on Guisborough’s Hunter’s Hill estate.

Historians, conservationists and many members of the public also expressed vehement views against the shock plan.

Cllr Griffiths said: “The land rises to the north and south Guisborough – so this is a vast site on an elevated area.

“Thousands of homes on the south of Guisborough will be looking out of their windows right at it.

“I’m opposed to onshore wind farms of any description.

“There will be a big battle locally over this site, which is less than half-a-mile from Guisborough town centre.”

Durham-based developer Banks Renewables is conducting a consultation.

Residents can get their first look at the outline plans at a public exhibition from 3pm to 7pm on Tuesday, August 28, at Guisborough Methodist Church Hall.

Philip Dyke, development director, said: “It’s early days for this scheme and I would ask people to come along to our exhibition and get the facts before they make their minds up.”

A planning application for a mast to gather wind speed data will be submitted in a few weeks, ahead of a full planning application in about 12 months.

Historian and founder of Guisborough Museum Roger Darnton said: “These turbines would be in such close proximity to the town.

“Guisborough’s in a valley between the Cleveland and Eston hills and these will dominate the town.

“Our history and Priory go back more than a thousand years. People have worked so hard to preserve the town’s character and don’t want to see it destroyed.”

Ted Amos, chairman of the Friends of Guisborough Forest and Walkway, said: “It would be an abomination on the landscape. It would dominate the whole town and our famous ancient priory.

“These things are getting too widespread – there’s already going to be ones at Redcar.”

Conservative ward councillor Peter Spencer said: “I’m not against wind power – but I am against it in sensitive areas like this.

“It will appear massive.”

Up to 40 jobs would be created via construction of the wind farm and local supply chain firms could tender for contracts worth about £3m, according to developers.

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