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Wind turbines refused in Keighley and Worth Valley to safeguard tourism

The importance of local tourism has led to Bradford Council refusing a trio of wind turbine applications proposed around the Keighley and Worth Valley areas.

Although acknowledging the potential of all three turbines to produce green energy, planning officers said they would be too harmful to the surrounding countryside and could put off visitors from nearby towns and further afield.

A 30-metre high turbine at Moorside Farm, Broad Head Lane, Oakworth, a 24.6-metre high turbine at Ryecroft Road in Harden and a 24- metre high turbine at Tarn Lane in Laycock were all refused by planning officers within a day of each other last week.

The decisions come shortly after the Government announced councils should give more weight to local objections when deciding whether to allow turbines.

The Oakworth turbine plan, submitted by Geoff Batley, was for a site in the Worth and North Beck Character Area and was refused because of the harm it could do to the landscape, famed for its links with the Bronte sisters.

The decision said: “It would bring about negative visual impact from viewpoints that include publicly accessible moorland associated with the Brontes. This has the potential to adversely affect a landscape that is internationally important in literary heritage terms and which generates a significant amount of tourism.”

The Harden turbine plan, submitted by S Preston, was refused because it “would be likely to adversely affect the public enjoyment of Harden Moor.” Officers go on to say the area is important for people living in surrounding towns, who visit to take a break from urban life.

They said the Laycock application, submitted by Andrew Walker, would “readily attract the eye” and spoil the views of anyone visiting nearby beauty spot Keighley Tarn.

The refusal notice adds: “This would harm the experience of visitors to the area, which is open for public and recreational purposes.”

Shortly before the three turbines were refused, the council received an application for another at a farm in Cullingworth.

The application is for Manor Farm, Station Road, and if approved would see a turbine built with a 51-metre high hub and a total height of almost 66 metres to the tip.

Applicant Robert Thompson says although the turbine would not power the farm, it would offset the energy produced there.

There are currently five more applications for turbines on nearby sites awaiting a Council decision and four appeals against previous Council refusals.

The Thornton Moor Windfarm Action Group has long been campaigning against turbines being built in the area. Founder Anthea Orchard, of Denholme Gate, said although it was good to see turbines being turned down for the sake of the countryside, she was still sceptical about future decisions.

She added: “I’m surprised to see three refused at the same time like this. It’s good they’re not just refusing them for technical reasons, but I don’t read too much into it.

“I don’t think every turbine is going to get turned down, they’ll still all be judged on their own merits.”