Wind turbines would turn an attractive country landscape near Gargrave “industrial”, a hearing was told this week.
Ian Coates, owner of Ash Tree Farm neighbouring the site of three proposed 100 metre high turbines, said the lives of his family would be blighted and their quality of life destroyed. He was giving evidence at the start of the hearing into Energiekontor’s second appeal to build at Brightenber Hill on Tuesday.
Mr Coates, said he took out a large mortgage to buy the previously tenanted farm after the first appeal for turbines on the site failed.
He said: “It is a working farm and for 90 per cent of my time when I am on my land I will have a full view of all the turbines.
“It is a question of scale – they will be totally out of scale with the trees, the fences, the walls and the surrounding landscape.
“They will dominate the entire skyline and will turn what is a country landscape into an industrial landscape.”
Planning inspector Zoe Hill said the main issue of dispute between Craven District Council, which rejected the scheme last year, and the renewable energy company was the impact on nearby residential properties.
She said she would also be considering the impact on nearby listed buildings, including grade two listed Gledstone Hall, and taking into account the feelings of residents.
Energiekontor has scaled down its original plan from five to three turbines saying it had taken into account the findings of the previous inspector. It removed the two turbines closest to Ash Tree Farm.
But Craven District Council claims that the scheme is still unacceptable.
The hearing, which took place at The Coniston Hotel, also heard from objection group Friends of Craven Landscape (FoCL), represented by David Manley QC.
More objections were heard from other residents, a cycling group, county and district councillors, and from David Coates, owner of Pot Haw Farm and equestrian business Craven Country Ride at Coniston Cold.
David Coates said if the turbines were built, 47 acres of the land occupied by the ride would no longer be able to be used because of the potential of frightening horses and would effectively become a “sterile zone”.
He said he was required to form a risk assessment and could open himself to potential insurance claims if there was an accident.
Barrister David Hardy, for Energiekontor, denied there would be any risk and challenged David Coates to come up with evidence.
“There is no evidence that turbines have ever been an issue with horses.
“Up and down the country, there are turbines closer to horses than this, and there is no issue. We don’t accept in principle there is a problem,” he said.
But David Coates, an experienced horse rider, said while the majority of horses would get used to turbines, the people who used the ride were often “day trippers” and he could not take the risk.
The hearing also heard from resident Elaine Dawson who said she was a regular user of the bridlepath and who feared people would be put off using it and start using the roads.
Mr Hardy also told residents concerned about shadow flicker that Energiekontor would act on complaints and the turbines would be turned off in some conditions. But he stressed the number of days of such conditions were likely to be very few.
The hearing was due to finish yesterday (Wednesday).
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