Objection grows for turbine plan at beauty spot

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Opposition is mounting against plans to erect a wind turbine close to the Northumberland National Park.

Meanwhile, another scheme is being lined up for up to five turbines in a separate part of rural Northumberland.

And one critic has said that it feels like the area is ‘under siege from wind prospectors’.

On Tuesday night, members of Whittingham, Callaly and Alnham Parish Council voted unanimously against a proposal for a 78metre-to-blade-tip turbine.

The plan has been submitted by Ogden Renewable Energy and the structure is earmarked for land associated with Follions Farm, near Lorbottle – on the outlying foothills of the Cheviots and to the east of the National Park.

Objections have been raised on grounds such as noise, visual impact and its subsequent effect on tourism and the economy.

A survey of residents living in Callaly parish revealed that more than 84 per cent of people who responded were against the bid.

And at a special public meeting on Friday – which was designed to give parish councillors the chance to hear the community’s views before members made their decision – it was evident that most of those who attended were in objection to the scheme.

Parish council chairman Ian Lepingwell said: “Friday’s meeting was attended by more than 100 people.

“Many in the audience joined in with questions and had strong views.

“It was clear at the end of the meeting that the vast majority of those present object to a turbine of this height in this kind of countryside.

“This was reflected by the individual views of the parish council on Tuesday.”

Callaly resident Tony Henfrey said the parish council’s decision was a clear indication of how ‘people in this part of the world feel about it’.

Those involved with the bid say it will allow the adjacent farm business to diversify and that the turbine’s life cycle will be around 25 years.

While this application has been lodged with Northumberland County Council, a separate plan is being drawn up by renewable energy company RES and telecommunications giant BT, for up to five turbines on land approximately 5km south of Wingates and 2km north of Netherwitton, to the west of Rayburn Lake near Morpeth.

A scoping request to the county council, which has been leaked to the Gazette, indicates that the turbines would be up to 127metres-to-tip-height.

Both RES and BT had previously submitted separate planning applications for wind farms on adjacent sites.

RES had proposed nine at Park Head while BT wanted three at Wingates Moor. BT’s were turned down by the county council but RES withdrew the application.

Now, they have joined forces and are putting forward a single scheme, known as Rayburn Wind Farm. They say the turbines will be positioned at a greater distance from the nearest communities than was the case with the previous plans.

A full programme of public consultation is planned over the coming months, with a view to submitting a planning application in the summer.

The site is close to where developer Infinis is working on its Wingates scheme, for six turbines, up to 110metres in height, which was granted permission in 2011 and is due to be operational in the spring.