A nine-turbine wind farm at Belford Burn would be an “appalling scar” on the landscape, according to nearby residents and some tourists.
Representatives from applicant Energiekontor and Northumberland County Council’s planning department were left in no doubt of the strength of feeling against the development at a public meeting on Monday.
Lord John Walton of Detchant said that the developments at Middlemoor and Wandylaw were a “lesson to us all”, and claimed that irrevocable damage had been done to the landscape.
“The reason I’m opposed to this application is because it’s going to be another appalling scar on some of the most beautiful countryside in Northumberland, and indeed the whole of England,” Lord Walton said.
“I’m horrified by the effects from the developments at Middlemoor and Wandylaw that have been heavily criticised by tourists who say it ruins the location.”
Energiekontor said that there were only six households within two kilometres of the proposed site. But Bridget Smith, who lives a mile from Belford Burn, said: “Do you know what it’s like to live with this threat looming over you?
“There’s a pit of dread in you all the time thinking what it will do to your home, your environment. You have seen the effect of Middlemoor and Wandylaw – you can see it from all around.”
Belford Golf Club owner Michael Ratliff added: “There have been 447 submissions made against this application, and only eight in favour of it.
“What weight does the council give to this in a democratic process?
“The weight of public opinion in this area could not be more heavily stacked against this proposal, and we will not stand for it!”
Other concerns raised included the ecological impact, particularly on the area’s wild geese; the proposed transport route through the village; and the threat to national security due to the proximity to the MoD radar systems at Brizlee Wood.
Energiekontor project manager Michael Briggs said that Belford Burn was probably one of the windiest sites in England that was suitable for a wind farm development, and highlighted the community fund offered.
“The community fund, standing at between £90,000 to £112,500 per year index linked, would be the largest to come out of a wind farm in Northumberland,” he said.
“On top of that we are proposing £500,000 towards the cost of re-opening Belford Railway Station. This will be a huge boost for tourism in the area as it will open up a new way for visitors to reach Belford, the coastal Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the numerous attractions in the area.”
The company is seeking permission to construct up to nine 100-metre turbines at the site, as well as an on-site substation, a temporary construction compound and a new site access onto the B6349.
Northumberland County Council’s planning committee is due to consider the plans at a meeting early in 2014. A decision was deferred in September pending a public meeting, and for further information to be provided by Energiekontor.
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