September 17, 2012

Guisborough windfarm protesters set to launch FIGHT

by Mike Morgan, Evening Gazette | 17 September 2012

An action group is being formed to oppose a proposed £15.6m windfarm in Guisborough.

Durham-based Banks Renewables want to build a six-turbine windfarm at Park Woods, on the Gisborough Estate.

The cluster of 410ft high wind turbines on hills overlooking Guisborough will be in view of many homes, including those on the main Hunters Hill estate.

Now, North Yorkshire Brewery owner George Tinsley, 61, of Pinchinthorpe Hall, who has an environment-based degree from Salford University, has arranged an inaugural meeting to set up the FIGHT (Fight In Guisborough to Halt Turbines) action group.

He said: “This is not a one-man battle.

“I’ve already had lots of support and interest from local residents and politicians and from people living closest to the site at Mount Pleasant. This meeting’s open to everyone – and the developers Banks Renewables are invited to attend if they wish.

“This site will harm Guisborough and its historic 900-year-old priory.

“It will be highly visible, not only to homes in Guisborough, but to communities including at Skelton, Great Ayton, Marske, Saltburn, Nunthorpe, Normanby, Eston, Redcar and Middlesbrough.

“There could also be major noise concerns.

“I can already see wind turbines of similar height at Seamer, near Yarm, from my home – and they are about nine miles away.

“They should not be sited in the heart of Cleveland in beautiful countryside, but should be out at sea or on brownfield sites, of which there are many on Teesside.”

The inaugural meeting is at 7.30pm on Wednesday at Sunnyfield House in Guisborough.

Mr Tinsley hopes a committee will be formed.

He said: “Local councillors have already expressed interest in supporting the group and I will be inviting Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop and have contacted the North York Moors National Park, Council for Protection of Rural England and other bodies.

“This is definitely not the right geographical site.”

And he added: “A High Court judge has already ruled in Norfolk at a similar site that Government wind power targets do not justify damaging the countryside.

“This will also devalue people’s homes.”

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, said: “This is a wholly appropriate location for a development of the type we’re proposing, and we’re confident we’ll be able to develop an environmentally acceptable windfarm design for it.

“Our community engagement programme will provide local people with opportunities to meet with our project team to find out more about our initial proposals for the Bankfield windfarm, and for us to listen to the wide range of views from local people.”

He said they are still at an early stage of the design process, but the scheme will also bring economic, social and environmental benefits to the area, from new jobs and commercial opportunities to funding for a range community and environmental improvements.

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