Plans to erect a wind farm near to a County Durham village have been met with opposition.
Leaders from Durham County Council will met next week to discuss proposals to install four wind turbines on agricultural land between Woodland Village and the edge of Hamsterley Forest, in Teesdale, County Durham.
Community groups and people living close to the site are objecting to the plans by Banks Renewables.
The group plans to erect four 125m wind turbines on the site which they say will create about 30 jobs and benefit the area’s businesses, thanks to a community fund which would be worth about £70,000 every year.
But residents submitted more than 200 letters of objection when original plans were put in for five turbines in 2011. Concerns included noise, safety issues, traffic and ecology.
Similar issues were also put forward in 122 further letters following the latest submission.
However a planning document due to be put before the council next week said 211 letters of support had also been received for the proposed development, from businesses that supply or would supply services to the applicant or to the wind industry.
Officicers have recommended refusing the plans. The report, due before the council, read: “The proposed development would have significant effects on the character of the local landscape and on the special character of an Area of High Landscape Value conflicting with Teesdale Local Plan Policy.”
It went on to say that the proposals would have “significant effects on the special character and qualities of the North Pennines.”
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “We have had substantial amounts of support for the Windy Bank wind farm from residents, community groups and local employers who appreciate the positive impact that it would have on the area in terms of employment, investment and improvements to the facilities available for local people to enjoy for decades to come, and all alongside the home-grown, clean, green energy it would generate.
“While we’re disappointed that Durham County Council’s planning officers have recommended that our planning application should be refused, we are still hopeful that the members of the council’s planning committee will recognise and support the many significant social, environmental and economic benefits it would bring to the area.
“We believe that the issues raised by the officers on ecology and visual impact are unbalanced and do not give sufficient weight to the many benefits of the proposal.
“We have submitted extensive survey information on birds and bats to statutory nature conservation advisor Natural England, which does not object to on ecology grounds.
“We have also developed a very comprehensive habitat management plan which covers a 109 hectare area, and have specifically designed the scheme to have a low visual impact in an area which is sparsely populated.
“The council’s officers acknowledge that the site is acceptable on all other grounds, including residential amenity, safety, aviation, highways, archaeology and tourism.”
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