Parishes in storm over windfarm invitation

A major windfarm application will go before planners next week, but parish councils say they have been kept in the dark.

The bid to erect nine turbines between Hadston and Widdrington will be considered by Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee on Tuesday.

Planning officers have urged the Peel Energy scheme be approved citing renewable energy benefits.

But 50 letters of objection have been submitted, along with opposition from parish councils in the area.

Now councillors fear they may not even be able to present residents’ views as they say they have not been invited to the meeting.

Widdrington Village parish chairman Val Seddon said: “We haven’t been informed about this meeting.

“Normally, this information would have come out and we would decide how we were going to deal with it and who would speak for the objectors but we can’t do that because we haven’t heard about the meeting.”

East Chevington Parish Council chairman Coun Scott Dickinson said the parish council should have been told and that the county council had failed ‘yet again to notify us’.

A county council spokeswoman said letters about the meeting were sent to parish councils last Friday.

The application is for 126.5m tall turbines on land to the west of the A1068, along with associated infrastructure, access tracks and an 80m tall meteorological mast. The turbines would be in place for 25 years.

Four letters of support have been submitted, saying that it will help support the Blue Sky Forest (BSF) regeneration project – for leisure and tourism facilities built around the site.

Objectors say the scheme could in fact jeopardise BSF, which is hoped would bring around 1,000 jobs to the area.

A spokesman for Peel Energy said the windfarm would provide power for more than 9,500 homes, as well as contribute up to £1.35million in community funding. The scheme also has support of developers involved with BSF.

Charles Davies, of Active Leisure, said the windfarm would help ‘us deliver the resort quickly and that both projects will run in harmony, providing long-term environmental and economic benefits for Northumberland’.