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Wind farms scaring off land buyers in Northern Tablelands

Northern Tablelands landowners say the prospect of wind farms in the region has already scared off potential buyers, leaving them worried for the future.

Last month the 119-turbine White Rock Wind Farm, to be located between Glen Innes and Inverell, was approved by the Department of Planning and construction will start in 2014.

Another approved project, the Glen Innes Wind Farm, will include 27 turbines about 12km west of Glen Innes, while the Sapphire Wind Farm will see up to 159 turbines spanning 22 properties between Glen Innes and Inverell, if approved.

One Swan Vale landowner said nearby residents had already struggled to sell properties because of the planned farms.

He feared for the future when he might want to sell up and move on, because his farm was essentially his superannuation fund.

He said he had even stopped investing in the farm because he believed the land would be devalued to the point that it wouldn’t pay off.

“We just don’t want to look at that (the turbines). You live here because it’s nature, it’s rural,” he said.

Other landowners have been reluctant to comment because of discussions with wind farm developers, but reportedly hold similar concerns.

Landmark agent Jim Ritchie said the prospect of nearby wind farms had attracted negativity from some buyers.

But it was difficult to determine whether property value had been adversely affected, he said, because buyer reaction varied he recently sold a Ben Lomond property to buyers who were happy about the possibility.

Mr Ritchie also said properties earmarked to host turbines sometimes attracted more positive attention because of the passive income that could be earned.

Another local agent said he had also seen instances of values both being increased and decreased in the area.

He said it depended to an extent on buyer perception and income derived from hosting turbines.

Sapphire Wind Farm proponent Wind Prospect CWP said there was “no reason to presume that the wind farm will affect the market value of any nearby properties” when responding to concerns raised in submissions on the project.

A 2009 NSW Valuer General report investigating the impacts of wind farms on the values of 45 properties in NSW and Victoria also found “wind farms do not appear to have negatively affected property values in most cases”.

“No reductions in sale price were evident for rural properties or residential properties located in nearby townships with views of the wind farm,” the report said.

No conclusive results were drawn for rural residential, or lifestyle, properties.