Turbines scaled down

WINDFARM applicants have amended their plans for a site near Widdrington, but villagers remain concerned.

Novera Energy revealed proposals last year to erect a five-turbine windfarm between Widdrington Village and Widdrington Station, with turbines up to 140m tall.

The scheme came in for heavy criticism at a public meeting at Widdrington WI Hall, with concerns that it would blight the community.

A parish-wide vote found 54 per cent of respondents against the proposal.

Now Novera has dropped one turbine from the plans for the Sisters site to take the total proposed to four and the height of them will be reduced to 126m.

The company, which is part of the Infinis group, will hold public exhibitions next Thursday at the Area Training and Activity Centre (ATAC) in Mile Road, Widdrington Station, and the following day at Widdrington WI Hall. Each will run from 4pm to 8pm.

However, village leaders say the community is unlikely to change its views.

Widdrington Village Parish Council Chairman Valerie Seddon said: “What most residents are concerned about is the actual position of the windfarm, which is directly in front of the village on a slightly rising slope.”

“There is absolutely no way of mitigating against the visual impact. I can’t really see that reducing the scheme by one and reducing the height of the turbines is going to make that much difference, but we really have to ask our residents how they feel about it.”

Widdrington Station and Stobswood Parish Council Chairman Joe Sennett also has concerns.

He said: “They have reduced the size of the turbines by about 20m, but we are still looking at a height of almost 400ft.

“We put it to the vote and the majority of people said no to it, but if Novera brings it out to people and explains what it has done to cut the height we’ll have to see if people feel the same.

“We have to go down the route of some alternative kind of energy, but what worries me is we know for a fact that there could be 40 applications for windfarms waiting to come out and we could be surrounded by them.”

Novera plans to set up a community liaison group of parish councils and other residents to keep people informed of the application progress and discuss a community benefits fund that will be established if the scheme is approved.

Project Director Susannah Side said: “We are looking forward to meeting local residents again at the exhibitions and sharing with them our revised plans for the site.

“We are also keen to hear about local projects that may be suitable for support from the community trust fund. Ideas that have already been suggested to us include support for a community turbine project and improved broadband access in the local area.”

The exhibitions will be held next Thursday at the Area Training and Activity Centre (ATAC) in Mile Road, Widdrington Station, and the following day at Widdrington WI Hall. Each will run from 4pm to 8pm.