Plans to erect a wind farm near to a County Durham village have been rejected.
Leaders from Durham County Council refused 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 rejected to the plans by Banks Renewables.
The company wanted to erect four 125m wind turbines on the site which they said would create about 30 jobs and benefit the area’s businesses.
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.
And on Tuesday at a Durham County Council planning meeting the plans were refused in line with officers’ recommendations.
The report, put 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: “Modern, efficient, indigenous onshore wind farms such as Windy Bank provide the lowest cost form of renewable energy generation, and we firmly believe they have a central role to play in the UK’s future energy mix, as well as in generating more of the energy that we all use via renewable means.
“We’re naturally disappointed that Durham County Council’s planning committee has decided to refuse the application today, especially as the vote was so close, and that the many significant social, environmental and economic benefits that the Windy Bank wind farm would bring to the local area are now put on hold.
“We have had substantial amounts of support for the Windy Bank wind farm from residents, community groups and local employers who’ve all appreciated 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.
“Around 30 jobs would be created during the site preparation and construction phases of the project, and we’ve committed to enabling County Durham firms to tender for a range of related contracts worth up to £3.5m for different aspects of the project, including construction, security, accommodation and catering.
“The community benefits fund linked to Windy Bank, which would be managed and administered by the County Durham Community Foundation, would be worth around £70,000 every year, or up to £1.75m over the project’s 25-year lifespan, and would support priorities which local people feel are important to them and will have the greatest local benefit.
“We remain convinced that the Windy Bank wind farm is a well-designed scheme that is situated in an entirely appropriate location, and will now look at the exact reasons for the planning committee’s decision before deciding on the most appropriate next steps to take.”
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