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Eighth appeal in Cullingworth turbines battle

A new appeal lodged against Bradford Council’s decision to refuse permission for a 65-metre-high wind turbine in Cullingworth means there are currently eight active appeals to get turbines built in Airedale.

The councillor in charge of planning says it shows the council is taking a “firm line” on turbines, but another believes too many are being refused without considering the benefits.

The turbine, at Manor Farm, off Station Road in Cullingworth, was refused in August because of its potential impact on the Wilsden Landscape Character Area and the green belt.

Applicant Robert Thompson has appealed to a government planning inspector to overthrow this decision, saying the benefits of the turbine and the green energy it would produce outweighed any damage to the surrounding area. His appeal adds: “The council’s stance on wind turbines within the green belt is confused.”

His appeal joins several others currently with the planning inspectorate for turbines in Harden, Laycock, three in Silsden, Oxenhope and two off Otley Road in Eldwick. They were all refused due to their impact on green belt land, the area’s natural beauty or tourism.

Decision dates have not been specified by the planning inspectorate.

A council report released earlier this year showed the authority had refused half of the turbine applications it received in the past 20 years.

Coun Val Slater, executive member in charge of planning on the council, said: “Everyone has the right to appeal when officers or a planning committee have looked at their application and decides when it doesn’t fit with our policies.

“The council has been criticised for how we approach wind turbine applications, but the number of appeals show we are taking a firm line with them.”

Coun Andrew Mallinson represents Craven, a ward where several of these turbines are proposed, and is concerned about the amount of applications and appeals.

He said: “It is worrying because it is all ad hoc applications. We could end up with what is basically a wind farm if they all go through.

“I have heard other councils introduce a policy to restrict the number of wind turbines. I think Bradford Council needs to look at developing its own policy.

“There seems to be no consistency to what is approved or refused, and the council needs a firm policy with things like recommended distances from public footpaths and possible blight on the landscape. If there isn’t, then rural areas will continue to be faced with wind farms.”

Earlier this year, planning inspectors sided with the council and refused an application for a turbine in Harden that had gone to appeal.