Stocksfield is in line to become the next Tow Law if a planning application for a wind turbine more than twice the height of the Angel of the North is given the go ahead.
That was the view of one resident who expressed his concern for the future of the picturesque vistas enjoyed by villagers in the face of what he described as the current “speculative development environment”.
Michael Easey, who lives at New Ridley, told Broomley and Stocksfield Parish Council he had written to object to a proposal for a 46.5m high wind turbine on land at Mickley Grange Farm.
And with other applications for enormous structures on the parish boundary pending, including one for a turbine measuring 34.2m at Hedley North Farm, Hedley-on-the-Hill, he feared the cumulative effect could be catastrophic.
He said: “Just to put this thing in to perspective – the Angel of the North is 20 metres high; this turbine would be more that 46 metres, so it would be visible for the whole length of New Ridley Road.”
Mr Easey added that the photographs contained in the planning application were panoramic ones and none had been taken of the view from Hedley-on-the-Hill or New Ridley.
“My concern is that Stocksfield ends up like Tow Law,” he added.
“And in the speculative development environment we’re now in, it’s the cumulative effect which is alarming.
“There are estimates that property prices drop by up to 20 per cent.”
Coun. Pete Duncan said: “I have nothing against wind turbines and can’t be upset by a single turbine, more than a mile away. I think it’s fine.
“They can look quite majestic.”
Clerk to the council, Margaret Williams, said: “But there are two turbines proposed on two separate farms within the area – one in Stocksfield and one at Hedley.
“That has to be taken into consideration.”
Coun. John Davison said: “I think if this one goes ahead it would be opening the door for the one further over at Hedley. And together they are bound to open the floodgates to countless others.”
Coun. Keith Woods said: “If I wanted one wind turbine to benefit my business and help power my farm, I’d be really upset if the parish council objected.”
Councillors agreed their only response to the application would be to request that, should it be granted permission, the delivery route for the turbine was carefully planned.
The turbine would be installed 250m north-east of Mickley Grange Farm, with a rotor height of 31.5 metres and an overall tip height of 46.5 metres.
The applicant, George Charlton, would use the power generated on his family-run farm and race horse training business.
One or more full-time members of staff would be recruited to join the current five full and part-time workers on the arable and sheep farm, where around 18 racehorses are currently kept.
“I grow oats which are used as an old-fashioned way of feeding race horses and supply them to people all over the country,” said Mr Charlton.
“What I’ve been asked to do is use a machine to make the oats into cubes, which would require a lot of electricity.
“Obviously, a wind turbine would be a much more environmentally friendly way of doing it.
“I must stress, the power generated would be for my own use, to grow the business.”
He added that the visual impact of the turbine would be minimised by the farm buildings it would be located behind.
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