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Appeal lodged as green belt mast bid thrown out

An appeal has been lodged after plans for a controversial, giant mast in West Boldon were thrown out.

The Gazette reported in December that about 100 people signed a protest petition against the temporary siting of a 50-metre meteorological mast on land near Laverick Hall Farm, West Boldon.

At a council planning committee in January the application was refused.

Members expressed concerns that the mast could trigger a bid for a wind turbine farm development on the site at a later date.

The mast scheme was submitted by Empirica Investments Ltd, a North Yorkshire company specialising in renewable energy projects, including wind turbines.

The firm has now lodged an appeal against the decision, which will be looked at by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate, based in Bristol.

A planning inspector will be appointed to look at the application and visit the 240-acre site.

The inspector’s decision will be presented to a forthcoming meeting of the council’s Planning Committee.

In May 2008, Coun Iain Malcolm, then newly-elected Labour council leader, pledged no developments would be allowed on the green belt land.

The move came after residents won a fight against a controversial business park and leisure development scheme on the same piece of land six years ago.