Delay for Wark turbine plan

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Wind farm protesters have warned that parts of the north Northumberland countryside will be ruined by more giant turbines.

Planning permission has recently been granted for a 74-metre tall mast at Shoreswood, with two more 34.5-metre tall masts in the pipeline at Felkington, near Norham.

Several others have been built or are awaiting construction, leading to concerns about cumulative impact.

Clare Dakin is particularly worried about the proximity of such developments to the 4,000-year-old Duddo standing stones.

She said: “In the light of the Shoreswood appeal decision there is a significant issue with cumulative impact when it comes to determining the Felkington application.

“As a stand alone project this is not acceptable in terms of impact upon the setting of this monument to which there is public access and which is visited by several thousand people each year.

“This is a bronze age relict of the highest quality highly regarded by the archaeology profession and its setting is pristine and should remain preserved.”

Don Brownlow of Grievestead Farm added: “The scale and siting of these turbines goes against best practice and would have unacceptable cumulative impacts on the local landscape, the amenity of local residents and on the setting of Duddo Five Stones.”

Members of Northumberland County Council’s planning and environment committee took those comments on board on Tuesday night when they agreed to make a site visit to Felkington and the Duddo Stones before making a decision.

The application, which attracted seven objections from local residents as well as Duddo Parish Council, is a commercial venture that would export electricity to the National Grid.

Councillors had also been recommended to give the green light to a 47-metre tall wind turbine at Wark Common.

However, the application was withdrawn from the agenda to allow further consideration of late information that has been received.

A previous application for a 71m turbine was approved by the council, but the consent was subsequently quashed at Judicial Review and the council paid the complainant’s costs after admitting to not having following proper process on several counts.

The new application has still attracted 21 letters of objection from local residents plus Carham and Cornhill parish councils. They raised concerns about the visual impact, effect on landscape character and impact on heritage assets including Wark Castle.

Joe Nugent, senior planning officer, said: “The proposed turbine would be located in a broad open landscape and the scale of the turbine in terms of height would not result in a detrimental impact on long range views important to the character and quality of the landscape and would satisfactorily integrate into the landscape. In terms of potential impacts including cumulative impact, cultural heritage, ecology, highways and residential amenity, these have been appraised and the development would not result in an adverse impact.”

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