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Concerns remain for windfarm scheme

Parish councillors will continue to object against a controversial windfarm plan, despite the number of turbines being reduced.

And they fear the scheme will impact on the wider multi-million Blue Sky Forest (BSF) tourism and leisure project, claiming developers will be put off from building on land which houses a windfarm.

Earlier this year, Peel Energy submitted a planning application to Northumberland County Council to build 13 turbines on land between Widdrington and Hadston.

The company claimed the turbines, which would stand at 126.5metres tall, were the first part of the BSF project.

Peel has subsequently amended its proposal, to reduce the number of turbines to nine and incorporate habitat enhancement work for birds.

However, objections still remain for the windfarm, including from the Widdrington Regeneration Partnership (WRP), which is leading on the wider BSF initiative, which includes plans for various leisure facilities.

Last month, Val Seddon, chairman of WRP, said she feared the windfarm could jeopardise the BSF project.

She claimed other developers ‘seem to be rushing to avoid’ the area completely and said the windfarm would not provide any infrastructure for BSF.

And at Monday’s meeting of East Chevington Parish Council, which has objected to both the original and the revised turbine plan, councillors spoke of their fears that the turbines will impact on BSF.

Chairman Coun Scott Dickinson said: “Developers are walking away and they are no longer as keen as they were.

“It will mean that the things that we wanted for the area, which would be a good job creator, will not come.

“I fear that the windfarm application has gone so far that it can’t be stopped and I fear that we will end up with a windfarm and that is all we will have.”

He added: “The windfarm is not part of the wider project. It never has been.”

Coun Cheryl Willcox added: “The whole Blue Sky Forest project is going to go up the swanny.”

Coun Paul Claridge said he thought the windfarm would ‘drive people away’ and feared it could instead lead to unwanted and unneeded development in the area.

Objections have also been raised because of the number of windfarms already in the area and the county.