Wind-turbines plan to get a public airing

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A public meeting has been called to hear views on windfarm plans.

Northumberland County Council’s Planning and Environment Committee will hold the session to discuss a five-turbine scheme at Fenrother, near Longhorsley.

Applicant Energiekontor UK says the 126.5metre-tall turbines would provide power for up to 7,623 homes, while up to £45,000 a year in community benefits would be given to the Greater Morpeth Development Trust.

However, a 71,000-word community objection file has been submitted by the Fight Fenrother and Longhorsley Windfarm Group.

The epic document was delivered to the council last week.

About 700 individual letters of objection have also been submitted.

And a survey by Tritlington and West Chevington Parish Council, which was carried out by leaflet drop and online, showed 83.7 per cent of respondents were against the turbines, with 8.1 per cent in support.

Of 123 votes cast, 103 were against, 10 were for and a further 10 were of ‘no opinion’.

Campaign group chairman Dr James Lunn said: “The main issue about the whole thing is there is not a single section of the application that doesn’t contain basic errors, for example the photographic representation of the site includes a photograph from Longhorsley Moor that is two years out of date so it has missed off 15 other turbines.

“We are quietly confident that we have presented an opportunity for the council to do what the residents around the site want, which is to throw this out.”

However, Energiekontor UK Project Manager Sam Dewar said the application is correct and around 350 letters of support have been submitted.

“If there was anything incorrect in our environmental assessment or the planning application as a whole it would have been brought up by the case officer and we would have corrected it accordingly, but that hasn’t happened.

“There have been a few points of clarification, as will always happen with applications of this size,” he said.

“We are happy with what we have submitted. It has been reviewed and read through many times.

“We believe the application stands up on its own merits and the scheme is going to generate electricity for almost 8,000 homes.”

Committee Chairman Trevor Thorne said: “The public meeting is taking place so we can further explore the circumstances of the windfarm proposal and it will help us to make a decision on the application.”

Consultation is underway with a range of organisations including the Environment Agency, Northumberland Wildlife Trust and English Heritage, as well as Longhorsley and Tritlington Parish Councils.

The preferred route for abnormal and normal vehicles would be via the A1 and Fenrother Lane.

No firm date or place has been set for the meeting, but a council site visit is due to be held on Friday, October 12.