Residents have their say on energy site

A SPECIAL consultation form has been sent to residents to gauge opinion on hotly-contested windfarm plans – and it is ‘critical’ that they respond.

Villagers in East Chevington parish are being urged to give their views on Peel Energy’s bid for 13 126.5-metre-high turbines between Hadston and Widdrington.

It follows Monday night’s parish council meeting, at which it was decided how to monitor people’s feelings.

And chairman Coun Scott Dickinson said it was important for residents to reply, with opposition mounting to the scheme.

“If people don’t want it, they have got to make their feelings known because if we can’t demonstrate people’s views, we are fighting a losing battle. It is critical that people respond,” he said.

Peel’s application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council for planning permission and is part of the wider Blue Sky Forest (BSF) project, which is being led by the Widdrington Regeneration Partnership (WRP).

The turbines would be the first phase of the BSF scheme.

The applicant says the turbines would ‘play an important role in stimulating’ the wider, multi-million-pound BSF project, which includes a golf course, a 300-bed hotel and associated infrastructure.

But last week, the WRP announced that it could not support the windfarm, because there were already too many turbines in the area – especially as the county council granted permission in February for Infinis’ four-turbine scheme on the edge of Widdrington Village.

And at the parish council meeting, Peel’s bid received another critical response.

Coun Dickinson branded the application ‘ridiculous’ and said that ‘such a large windfarm was unacceptable to the area’.

He added: “The people are being misled – that without the windfarm the rest of the BSF project won’t happen, but this is not the case.”

Members also heard from a Red Row resident who said her property would be around 1km away from the nearest turbine, if the plan was given the go-ahead.

The villager, who did not want to be named, branded the turbines ‘huge monstrosities’, saying they would ‘cripple’ the area, devalue property, and warned that the start of the coastal route would become ‘awash with turbines’.

She added that the windfarm would have a negative impact on the leisure and tourism aspect of the wider BSF project, saying: “Who would want to holiday in the middle of a windfarm?”

The consultation forms should be returned to Hadston House by 5pm on Monday.

The Gazette contacted Peel Energy for a statement on Tuesday, but did not receive a response by the time of going to press.