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Planning inspector rejects turbine appeal amid fears of ‘unplanned windfarm’ developing on hillside

A planning inspector fears that an “unplanned windfarm” is being created on a hillside near Queensbury as the latest appeal against a 36-metre high turbine in the area is rejected.

Two separate bids for similar turbines on land at Bar Farm, off Brighouse and Denholme Road, have been turned down by Bradford Council planners in the last 14 months

It follows fears from Council planning officers that the number of turbines installed in the Soil Hill area in recent years has changed the character of the landscape and made it look like a “poorly conceived wind farm”.

As both planning applications were refused, the first was appealed, with the decision being published in the last week.

In dismissing the appeal, planning inspector Phillip Ware said that the area to the north and east of Soil Hill contained a “considerable number of turbines”, and that more were being built on the lower slopes at the time of his visit to the site in October.

“The slope of the hill itself would include seven turbines (including the appeal proposal) in a loose cluster, with more beyond.

“In many respects this would appear as an unplanned windfarm spread across the hillside, with no apparent overall consideration of the combined effect of the developments.”

He added: “The ability of this landscape to absorb the appeal scheme would be exceeded, and the area would become a wind turbine landscape, in which the turbines would be a dominant feature.

“Overall, the proposal would harm the character and appearance of the area and conflict with the policies.”

He did find that the proposal by Wellfield Energy Limited would bring significant benefits in terms of renewable energy production, but that it would fail to protect and enhance the natural environment. He concluded that the need for renewable energy did not outweigh the harm to the green belt and that the special circumstances required to justify the development did not therefore exist.

Ward councillor Richard Dunbar (Lab, Thornton), who spoke out against the most recent turbine application for the site when it was refused at committee in August, said: “Having represented local residents at a previous planning committee over their concerns about the installation of a wind turbine on this site I know they will welcome the decision by the planning inspector to dismiss the appeal.

“The inspector, like residents, pointed out that the turbine would do harm to the green belt and also to the character and appearance of the area. Residents were also especially concerned about the noise and shadow flicker that would emanate from a turbine on this site.”

The scheme was expected to generate around 405,000 kW hours of renewable energy a year, enough to power around 100 homes.

Agent for the scheme Stuart Robertshaw of Home Energy Efficiency Ltd, did not respond to requests for a comment.