Controversial plans to build wind turbines on two neighbouring farms have been approved, despite the concerns of neighbours.
The owners of Trimdon House Farm and West House Farm want to erect two 500kw turbines on agricultural land south of Harap Road, near Fishburn, both to power their farms and feed energy into the national grid.
But their scheme, first mooted several years ago, ran into opposition from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Durham Tees Valley Airport and Fishburn Parish Council, among others.
After protracted negotiations, the MoD and the airport withdrew their objections, leaving locals to fight the proposals, backed by the Durham Bird Club and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).
At a meeting of Durham County Council’s county planning committee at County Hall today (Tuesday, October 6), two local business owners voiced their opposition.
They were supported by Councillor David Boyes, who said County Durham had far exceeded its targets for wind energy and added that the project would bring no benefits to the local community.
Cllr Rachel Lumsdon said there were a large number of turbines in the area; and the committee heard the turbines would measure 77m from ground to tip, making them bigger than others locally.
For the other side, a spokesman for agents Prism Planning argued the turbines would extend an established “row”, have minimal impact on the landscape and make a modest but important contribution to meeting carbon emissions reduction targets.
“This not city fat cats putting these plans forward, but local farmers,” he added.
Cllr Mike Dixon said councillors had a duty to support businesses and wind turbine proposals would never win community support.
Cllr Grenville Holland voiced his support for generating more energy from renewable sources.
Council planning officers recommended the scheme for approval, saying it would not have “significant adverse physical impacts” on the landscape and the committee voted to grant planning permission by ten votes to four.
Later, the committee unanimously backed plans to install 960 photo voltaic panels at Thorpe Farm attraction, at Greta Bridge, near Barnard Castle.
The solar farm, on 1.9 acres of grazing land, is expected to generate 249.6kw per day and last for 25 years.
Cllr George Richardson, a local county councillor, said he had received no representations about the application and seconded Cllr Holland’s motion to approve consent.